"Will I lose my dignity ? Will someone care ? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?"
Lyrics from a song in RENT that always remind me of my father's struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. The slow steady surrender into complete dependence. Living up north while he was ill, I felt so disconnected and useless at times. There was so little I could do or contribute.
My mother and sisters worked so hard to give my father's life dignity and meaning even as all of his faculties were diminishing. Finding interesting things to amuse him or make him smile, helium balloons and water pistols come to mind. It was always changing, as was his care but there was always a sensitive hand reaching out to him to stroke his forehead or caress his cheek and someone to sit beside him and just simply "be" with him.
I think about the great love he received from family and friends and caregivers and I know that he gave love as well. We could all see it in his eyes and ocasionally hear it in the sound of his voice and one thing about him never changed, he gave us all he could.
Barbara McNally Reuther