Sunday, May 11, 2014

I Will Miss Him When He's Gone.

I visited Dad on Friday and he was snoozing, as usual. I sat down next to him and after a few minutes, he started pulling on his blanket and opened his eyes. I leaned over him, stroking his arms and hands, and smiled at him, “Hi Dad!” He looked back at me and gave me a faint smile but something didn’t seem right about his eyes, or his face. He just seems altogether more frail, but there’s something else.

The last time I saw him, I noticed that his face looked a little different, as if his cheeks had fallen in a little or something. This time, one eye seemed wider than the other, and it was looking off in a different direction, just a tiny bit. The other eye was narrower and looked a little puffy. I know he rubs his eyes a lot, even after I got the doctor to give him some eye drops, but the other eye bothered me a little, as did the changes to his face. Could it be possible that he’s had a little stroke?

As I sat there, rubbing his hands gently, comparing how he looked now to how I remembered, I wondered but I don't suppose I will ever know for sure. Someone asked me on Friday how long I’d been caring for him and I had to think. It’s been ten years of care, of course, but I saw symptoms about five years before that, I think. Can it be fifteen years now that he has had this disease? I can hardly believe it but I think it’s true, which made me think – how much longer can it be before he dies?

I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking he will live forever, since it has been so, so long that we have been going through it. But, of course, he won’t live forever, and I wonder if maybe he won’t live much longer than this year or the next. I can hardly wrap my mind around it, and it shakes up my complacency a bit. On the other hand, I would be so grateful if he were to go soon – and easy – because I know with everything I am that he would HATE to live like this.

All I can do is prepare. I have the plans in place, the funeral home all ready, all the practicalities. But I have to start thinking more seriously about what it will be like to help him die, and I wonder how soon now that will be. None of can ever be ready, no matter how much planning we can do. If he HAS had a stroke, I hope it causes enough damage that his body starts to shut down; or maybe the next one will. All I want for him now is his freedom. But I will miss him when he’s gone.


  1. Hi there,

    I am a fellow caregiver and just came across your blog.

    I have been a young(ish!) carer for my mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, for the last three years now.

    I am in the process of creating a new poetry site primarily aimed at carers, but also people with dementia as well -

    The blog is an honest account of my experience of caring over the last few years in poems - some silly, some exasperated, some happy, some sad - of my last three years caring for my mother-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, and is aimed at helping to support other caregivers in a similar position.

    If you would be happy to link to me, I would gladly return the favour!

    DG x