My dad has taken a turn for the worst. He was taken to the hospital last night for what they thought was a stroke, but that isn’t what it was. They are doing tests to assess him and have FINALLY officially recorded in the records that my father has dementia. It has taken a long time for them to make this official – something my mother and my siblings and I have known for a while. Why no one else saw this is beyond me!
My father is 85, and has not been well for quite a while. He has been in a wheelchair for over a year, and I believe that combined with the pandemic just let his mind go. When I moved out of their place back in July, I wondered how my dad would be and I dealt with guilt for the first month of my being gone. I felt I was wrong for having left them, leaving my mother to have to take care of my father full time, and that I was putting a bigger burden on my sister, who still lives close by. I chose to leave to be closer to my daughter though, and I do not regret one moment for doing that. However, I do believe that after I left, he quickly went downhill. It was lack of conversation with more than my mother and what I believe was the overwhelming feeling of defeat he had because of the wheelchair.
My father was an outgoing, active member of the community. He was the president of the local Legion for many years, he knew a lot of people, and enjoyed being out in public, talking to everyone. He loved playing golf, and he loved travelling with my mother to the States. They spent many winters down in Myrtle Beach for a month at a time to escape the harsh winters of Ontario.
Growing up, my dad was the dad who would be outside skating with us on our homemade ice rink, he was the dad who would play kick the can, or hide and seek, or baseball in our backyard. Whenever he could, he would be outside playing with us. So when he ended up first using a cane, then a walker, and then the wheelchair – I knew this would be hard for his mind.
I love both my parents, and I know they love me. The words were not said much in our household, but we always knew they loved us.
So while it is sad to see my father deteriorate so quickly, I have reconciled in my mind that my time with my dad is coming to an end. I am sad but I also know that death is part of life. I love my dad and I know that he loves me. Is there anything more that we can ask for? I don’t think so.
Life is short – no one knows when our last days will be. We have to live life to the fullest. My dad did that. He lived his life as fully as he could, when he retired, he got another job driving people for wine tours in Niagara on the Lake and loved that job more than he loved his other one. My dad, for the most part, was content in life. And I know that when it’s time for him to leave us, that he will still be with us. In our hearts and minds and memories.
Give your loved ones a hug, or a call, just to say you love them. It will make you all feel a little bit better.