Alzheimer’s is the strangest disease.
My dad is now in advanced stages of AD, but he is ambulatory and in fairly good health. We try to take him out for activities but some things are getting too difficult. There’s a fine line of wanting to give him an outing and keep his life as full as possible–yet how much is he really benefiting from the outing? Especially when it is not easy for the caretaker to take him places (you have to watch Dad all the time, his behavior is unpredictable, his table manners are…well, not for the squeamish).
On Mother’s Day, we gathered at my brother’s home. Dad had been brought over and was sitting at the kitchen counter. Just sitting, kind of hunched over. His face has lost its animation. (Dad’s warm personality would light up his face when he saw others.)
Then…in walked my mom. Would you believe that Dad got to his feet and hustled over to greet her with a big kiss on the lips? Amazing! You wouldn’t know he had AD. For just half a minute, he was Dad.
That’s the mystery of AD! The person is still there…despite plaque on the brain or whatever it is that is robbing him of his speech and memories and motor control.
Those brief moments are like God’s gift to our family. They help remind us of who Dad was, of caring for him well because he is still with us.
Thirty second gifts. We’ll take ’em!