I Am My Dad Today

Has anyone faded away from you?

I know I am not alone. I know there are many others who share the loss I feel because someone they love is fading away from them.

Whether the reason has a name like dementia or Alzheimer’s or is nameless, whole parts of them seem to be missing and it creates a huge hole in their world. And my world too.

To watch this happen, whether bit by bit or all of a sudden and know there is nothing you can do to stop it, brings a cascade of tears.

How are we, the ones left empty and dry by their departure, to sit with this sense of loss?

I can only answer this for myself, but perhaps by sharing a part of me, there might be something valuable for you.

I write.

And through the writing, I allow my heart to bleed words onto the page.

For me, this is a way to vent the grief I feel and once it is outside of me, I can breathe again. I can let go of what I’m holding inside that rests on my chest and smothers me.

By writing, I open to wisdom and peace and let words flow through me into the open air.

Here is the poem I wrote.

I Am My Dad Today

I am my dad today.

At least that’s what my mother thinks.

She calls me by his name, her only connection to this world.

She asks me (him) where she is. I tell her but it doesn’t sink in.

She asks again.

I offer another answer and it falls into the same dark hole with everything else I say.

For a moment, I am not my father, and she asks me who I am.

I brace myself and tell her, I am your son.

A look crosses her face.

I wonder, could it be recognition?

She looks up at me and tells me she has no children.

I guess that makes my sister and me orphans. It’s certainly the way a part of me feels.

I wonder what string attaches her to this earth. I can’t see one. It must be some sort of magic.

It’s time for me to go. I tell her I need to go home to make dinner.

She asks me when she will see me again.

I try to calm myself.

I tell her that my sister, her daughter, will be with her tomorrow and that I’ll see her again the next day.

She turns away.

I walk out of her room wondering who I will be to her then. I cannot possibly know.

The one thing I do know is she will still be my mother.

I try to find some peace in this.

I love you mom.                             (end)

I know that I cannot change what is happening to her or to me, but I need to find a way to live in this new space.

I’m sure that others who have experienced this might be able to shed some light on this for me, but I want to know what god has to tell me.

So, I ask.

My answer comes from a part of god I know and love. It’s a part of god I know as Lia, which stands for Love In Action. She has a distinctly feminine voice and always speaks loving truth to me.

I try to calm myself and let go of the distractions that surround me. I breathe in and out, slowing and softening, so I can hear her voice clearly. When I find some peace, she speaks.

“The solace you seek comes when you release and accept.”

She continues, “Yes, of course, you feel deeply for the living loss of your mom, who is both here and not here. Rest easy and remember this…when she is with you, she is yours AND when she drifts beyond you, she is mine. She slips past the veil between worlds, and she comes to be with me. We sit together with the most precious love surrounding us and we rest in this beautiful state of bliss.”

I take heart and she tells me more.

“I know that all you see is a woman you love who appears to be here with you, but you cannot seem to reach her, and she seems disconnected and far, far away from you. I encourage you to see beyond this surface view. I ask you to accept my blessed assurance that she is with me and is always covered in my love.”

I sit with this revelation and let it fill me with peace. I do still feel the loss of connection with my mom, but something deeply profound has change inside of me and I now know she will always be taken care of, not by me, but by the sweetness of the divine.

Dementia’s Song

I’d like to share a very personal story with you, one that may resonate with your life experiences if you know someone with dementia.

No doubt this condition takes many routes. Some happen quite quickly. Others occur in a slow ebbing spiral, descending almost without notice, until one day the stark differences become painfully obvious.

It demands a very high emotional price, certainly from the one personally experiencing it, but also from those surrounding them. Watching the progression can be numbing, knowing there is so little that can be done.

Each person living through the changes must face their own emotional challenges, which of course are impacted by physical, mental, financial, and spiritual concerns.

I’m guessing that no two experiences are alike, but that there can be help and healing through sharing. That’s why I’m writing this post. I cannot know what assistance it may provide, but saying it here helps me and I hope it opens some doors for you.

Recently I awoke at 4:30 in the morning with a poem inside my mind, waiting for release, asking to be written. I hadn’t been expecting it, and yet it was there. So, I rose and wrote it down and felt a strong urge to put it into the world.

Here it is.

Dementia’s Song

I hope she knows me today.

My mother sits in her chair.

More than half faded from this life.

I cannot tell if she knows me.

And her stare gives nothing away.

I am left to wonder.

Is any part of her still here with me?

Once so sharp.

Now

With so few words.

Is there any promise for tomorrow

Or is that hope gone,

Like the sun winking out

At the end of the day

On the far horizon?

I wonder

Can I surrender

This fantasy inside of me

That I have any control

Over her staying?

I wonder too

Will her love remain

Here with me

When she finally leaves?

Perhaps that is for my heart to decide.

I want it to be so.

I hope she knows me today.

This was written after I’d visited my mom only to discover she didn’t seem to know me anymore. It left me fully disoriented, my world upside down. How could we have had such a good interactive conversation just the day before? Hours ago, that’s all, just a few hours.

I watch her trying to assemble words into sentences. The words will not come. They are like a skittish kitten hiding under a bed. The more you try to coax them to come out, the further they retreat from you.

Something obvious occurs to me.

I have no control. I cannot do anything to change this. I feel helpless.

And another thing occurs to me. Perhaps she feels the exact same way.

I wonder, how am I to deal with this?

A word shines brightly inside of me, grabbing my attention.

Acceptance.

It doesn’t mean I don’t try to help or be supportive, but it does mean I accept the reality we are experiencing. The wisdom inside this teaches me to accept all outcomes. It alerts me that my suffering is caused by my resistance to accept what is.

It is important for me to feel my feelings, to dive headlong into them, rather than trying to avoid them, even though I know it will be painful. By now, I know that it is far less painful to acknowledge my feelings, rather than a prolonged avoidance or resistance to letting them come into the light.

So, I will try to sit with no expectations and just be with her, accepting what each of us is experiencing and centering in love, as best as I can.