July 29, 2006

A letter to my siblings.......

Hey gang......

Just thought I would update you all on Dad.....just so everyone is aware......and I think I just need to type it all out and get it out of my system too........it's been weighing on me.

I took a day off work this week to go see him cuz Trish had seen him on Sunday and it had been way, way too long since I had been.

Dad is not well......he can no longer talk at all.....his vocal chords are obviously there because he does make noises but he just stutters incomprehensibly....he is in a wheelchair all the time now and shakes alot from the Parkinson's I guess....it's so bizarre because otherwise he looks physically quite normal....like the same old Dad....his colour is good and he does not look any older.....just looks like the same old Dad. He pretty much has to have everything done for him including feeding, dressing and hygiene. The deterioration in him just within the last 2 months is unbelievable.

He has someone with him 1:1 to take care of him all the time now......mostly a lovely woman named Colleen who seems to be very fond of him and chatters away to him....I met her on my visit and thanked her profusely for taking such good care of him (I know she gets paid but still). She stated that he reminded her of her own Dad and she got teary eyed as she was talking so I assume he had something similar and that she lost him recently dunno. Dad seems quite attached to Colleen....she said he becomes quite agitated each day when she has to leave and she has to promise him that she will be back the next day.

Anywho.....she made herself scarce while Dad and I visited in his room.....we sat for about an hour and I just held his hand and talked about old times growing up and trips we took and stuff like that.....all the while he just stutters trying to talk but it just does not happen. The only time he would say anything recognizable was when I would say things such as "Oh Dad, do you remember.......**insert any memory from the past 45 years here......" and he would respond with "Oh yes..." and then stutter, stutter, stutter.....like b-b-b-b-b-a-a-a-a-a-d-d-d-d-d-f-f-f-f-g-g-g-g-g....like he was trying to talk but just could not make the words......it was heart breaking.

Strangely enough though.....many of his facial expressions were still the same old Dad.

I would stroke his hand or arm and assure him all was OK and tell him that he didn't even need to talk and I would try to talk him out of getting too agitated with quiet words. Sometimes his shaking would get quite agitated looking. At some points I would ask him directly....."Are you trying to talk Dad and you just can't?" and he would answer with a very deflated "yes". So I really have no clue what he takes in anymore or not......he would look at me so intensely at times and I could not tell if he was just looking very intensely or actually looking right through me.........I just don't know. Other times he would just be staring off into the distance. Hell I am not even sure if he even knew who I was.

There were a few minutes at the beginning of our time together where I just could not stop the tears from flowing from my eyes.......and how often have any of you seen me cry??? Oh gads it was aweful!!!

But then I found some pictures.....some in an album which were of all of us at the cottage a couple of years ago and some just in a drawer in the dresser in his living room -- these were very old pictures of him as a kid and Katherine and his mom and dad.......and a couple of them had his dog Scamp in them and I often remember him talking about Scamp.....that brought a big smile to his face!!! That was the other interesting thing....his facial expressions and his physical body and his smiles were still the same old Dad. So I just kind of flipped through the pictures and would talk to him about the pictures, identifying people and scenery and he seemed to enjoy that....but again who knows.

And then after about an hour his lunch arrived in his room and so I said my goodbyes and left to find Colleen.

So there you have it....I am glad I went and the time we spent together was hard but also special in some way......but after seeing him the way he is now I can't help but think....wouldn't it just be perfect/ideal/whatever (not the right word but you know what I mean) if he just did not wake up one morning.....just quietly slipped away in his sleep like his mother....our Granny B. did.

Love and hugs to everyone......

Barb

P.S. Anyone thinking of visiting (and please don't misinterpret that in any way, shape or form as my suggesting that everyone should -- who am I to make that kind of judgment.......everyone's gotta do what they feel comfortable doing)......but if you do go I just suggest going one at a time....I know Trish was saying that on the way home from the cottage they all dropped in to see him which they have done before but that this time it was a little on the disasterous side as Dad just got very agitated with all the bodies standing around......and I think it must have been pretty hard on the boys as well to see their grandpa George like that.

1 Comment:

Trish said...

Oh dear...

I am without words