Dad, Daddy… even Hoot or Hooter.. he was my hero.
He has been battling Alzheimer’s for about 10 years now.
But what matters more than his disease is that he is my hero. He taught me all things concerning home maintenance and how to use tools around the home. He taught me how to fish, go clamming, cleaning and cooking what we caught. He taught me how to grow vegetables and other plants. He was/is a very giving man, always helping friends and family when they needed him. He was always there when I called for help. If my husband and I couldn’t figure it out my dad was there to the rescue!
The good memories with him seem endless: He loved to dance to the Righteous Brothers, eat seafood, drink beer and work hard. He taught me how to drive by letting me drive around the Elk’s club parking lot by myself. He encouraged me all the time. He has moments of clarity and knows where he was born and where he lives now. I think he knows who I am most times, but with the Covid 19 protocols I haven’t been allowed to go see him.
Dementia is hard on everyone and it changes a person. It’s so important to remember who our loved ones are sometimes. But we must. A memory I will always cherish is…Dad would wake up in the middle of the night (thinking it was time to get up) and put on my mom’s sweater and several of her hats on his head, and come down the hall to her room and wake her up. They would both laugh at his silliness. His sense of humor would come through every once in a while.
If my family and I could pass on words of wisdom to others going through this ordeal with their loved one, it would be:
(1) It is so hard watching your loved one slowly fade away from this cruel disease. All we can do is love them and let them know how much we do.
(2) If you are a caregiver for them, please take care of yourself as well. It is easy to devote all your time and energy to them and neglect yourself. When we finally had to put my dad in a nursing home, my mom’s health was compromised by not taking care of herself. It took many months to get her back to a healthy lifestyle.
Thank you for letting me give these brief answers to what has been a lifetime of love and respect for my father.