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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Double Bind

The Lantern, an Alzheimer's full time care facility, called today and said they have a spot for Dad. Whether or not we ought to put him in a placement ought to be a no brainer. Mom is getting weaker and the Alzheimer's is making his care increasingly difficult. I love my mother so. It is certainly in her best interest to have someone else take care of him and free her to sleep when she needs sleep or, if she feels like it, enjoy some of her last days here on earth. It probably is a no brainer except that knowing what I know of the disease, he will decompensate.   The move itself will send him further down the tunnel of isolation and who knows if he will be able to crawl back out and stabilize again?

Mom will have to watch this, knowing that, even if he doesn't know her, this is still the man she married 52 years ago. It will be better for him to have her around for the transition but probably harder for her then just leaving it for us to deal with after she is gone. Each of us have already considered the ramifications of moving him in with us. Since we all have children and could not give that dedicated care, he just wouldn't get it with any of us. Mom is the only one who has the time but unless God intervenes, we will be lucky to have her for four more months. There will probably be hospitalizations before she dies and we would have to scramble for care for Daddy. She wants us to advise her. I guess I have to advise for the full time care.

But then I picture my proud, independent Dad, still too proud to admit when he needs help, not being able to find a bathroom and staff not noticing. They won't love him like we love him because they don't really know who he is. They don't know that when he worked his first job, he used part of the money to buy his sister a bike. They don't know that he always took out the older widows at Valentine's Day every year or that he cleaned out latrines on a Honduras mission trip. They won't know that he used to come home from work every day, kiss my mother and then run through the house and hide so that my sister and I could clutch each other searching for him until he would jump out making us scream in delighted terror, or about the wheelbarrow rides, or so many things he doesn't even remember himself. I guess I'll have to tell them.


  1. Oh, Nancy, what could I possibly say that would help? Your post made me cry. I can relate to the pain of watching a parent slip away, and the helpless feeling. My faith took a hit during that time and it sounds like you may be feeling the same way. It's hard to see the blessings right now but after you come through all this you'll be able to recognize the "tender mercies" you and your family are being given. You will come through. Sending up a prayer for you and hoping you get good news about your hubby in the coming days. xoxo

  2. Thanks Amy. My faith is taking a hit as our my tear ducts. I try to keep taking my feelings to God but, as you know, doesn't keep the hurt away. Thanks for the prayers too.

  3. Ummm, that would be 'as are my tear ducts' not as our-keep forgetting to do those previews :).