This Father’s Day we remember those who are celebrating and those who are grieving. Whatever this holiday holds for you (perhaps some of both), we hope you experience joy and find the space to process the hard moments. From all of us at MesaView Senior Assisted Living in La Mesa, California, we wish you a safe and happy Father’s Day!
The Heartbreaking Journey of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
The journey of Alzheimer’s and dementia is a heartbreaking one, for caregivers and the diagnosed individual alike. At Mesa View Senior Assisted Living (and at our partner locations, Harbor View Senior Assisted Living and Bay View Assisted Living) we strive to provide compassionate, individualized care, preserving our residents’ dignity at every stage of their Alzheimer’s journey. Continued below is a heartfelt tribute to a loving father and devoted husband.
He Remembers Laughter and Songs and Stories
His brothers see him in his Alzheimer’s care community. He is no longer able to string together a sentence of comprehensible words. They talk to him and tell stories of growing up and what his grandsons are up to and how beautiful his son’s wedding was last night. They compliment him and he laughs and rolls his eyes and understands the tone of what they are saying, even if he can’t continue the conversation.
He doesn’t know who they are exactly, and he doesn’t remember that his son was getting married. But he remembers laughter and songs and long ago stories. He can’t say an intelligible sentence, but he can sing a whole song from start to finish.
Two boys bore his last name. Five siblings called him brother. One wife of 50 years counted him as her favorite person of all time. He was a devoted husband, father, friend, and brother. He doesn’t remember who they are exactly, but he does remember they are his. He hears something familiar in their voices.
He was grandpa to four boys; a family destined to be full of snails and spiders and pillow forts. He was always a bit unsure of what to do with little girls. The oldest in the family, he was a big brother and father-figure to his siblings, especially his youngest brother, who was born much later than the rest of them and entered a world of mostly grown-up kids. In him they found kindness, care, and protection.
But then the 10 years began. 10 years of confusion and slow progressions and little mistakes. 10 years of grief and research and life-changes. In 10 years, the humor and joy didn’t disappear entirely, but the memories did. The knowledge of names and relationships and events: all faded away. 10 years where Alzheimer’s ravaged its way into another life. 10 years that left him exhausted and confused and unsure of who he was.
Loved ones feel sad about losing the man he was. They are saddened by the conversations they can no longer have and the stories he can no longer participate in. They miss the man who would tease them and hug them and sing those songs.
But amidst all the confusion and the loss, there is still a light in his eyes. There’s still the singing and the laughing. And they know it won’t last too long, so they hold onto it with all their might, knowing that each moment he still looks them in the eyes, is a moment they can’t take for granted. He is still theirs, and he will always be theirs, no matter what comes their way.