I am amazed each time I learn of a friend that has a parent living with dementia. I am also struck by the words “living with dementia.”
How do you live with dementia? Do you have a choice?
I ran into an old friend tonight at the Pig. We played the catch up game and then she asked how my parents were. My pat answers is “Fine. About the same. You know how it is.” Then I said, actually you do not know how it is and for that I am very thankful.
If you do not have a loved one with dementia you likely do not know the roller coaster that families with dementia are on EVERY day. There is no such thing as a normal day.
Not any more.
My mom lives with dementia every day and yet every day is a gift.
I am somewhat sheltered from the roller coaster because I do not see my dad every day. When I see him, he knows who I am or at least knows that I am related to him. Some days he thinks I am my sister but I will take that.
This week my dad has told my mom that he is ready to die. That must be awful for her to hear. After all, they have loved each other for a lifetime. The good news is that my dad’s attempt to die consists of him holding his breath. Fortunately that does not work!
This week my dad has thought he was a general in the military and refused to leave the apartment because he was out of uniform. This was only a problem in that it caused my mom to miss her hair appointment. I suggested that next time they make the “general” get in the car out of uniform and encourage him to wait in the car while she gets a much needed hair cut!
This week my dad has decided not to shower on a regular basis and for that matter he has refused to change certain articles of clothing that really should be changed each day. I guess a rash will eventually set in and a shower will happen. I hope the shower happens before the rash . . . stay tuned!
This is living with dementia. Sometimes you do not get a choice.
We do not get to decide when we die and I think that is a good thing.
Some days are bad, some days are good and many days are less than perfect. In my house we call these less than perfect days as “bumps in the road.”
What would life be if we did not have bumps in the road?
We would not get to stretch our imagination. We would not get to talk to our siblings many many times a day. We would not get to council one another and learn from one another. We would not get a chance to start over and give life another try.
While I do not like this particular bump in the road, I am certainly glad that holding your breath does not grant you a trip to the pearly gates. Only the good Lord knows when we will get to take our last breath and for that I am thankful.
I know that my dad is tired and I am certain that he knows that his head is confused. I know that he and “we”Bump will have many more bumps in the road with dementia.
I am thankful for the ladies that help my parents each day and I am thankful for the people that walk this bumpy road with us. Some people have shorter roads than others but it is not for us to decide when our road comes to an end.
So my friend at the Pig, my parents are good. Life is the same.
The general needs a shower but that is just a bump in the road.