My father has had a diagnosis of dementia for a number of years and recently, the diagnosis was advanced to Alzheimer’s disease. This opening statement may lead you to think I am about to tell you all the problems associated with this condition. How horrid his life has become, how burdened his family members are. How perplexing and frightening his behaviours are…
Dementia undermines cognitive ability, so when feelings come to the forefront and are regarded, remarkable things happen. My dad says sweet things to my mom, and often. He never misses an opportunity to thank me for caring about him. My dad, who had a tight and rigid body upon hugging, now leans in and seems to let himself enjoy the human contact. He loves to sit quietly, holding hands. Sometimes dates evade him, even his age moves around however as family members, we say “so what?”
Recently my dad had a full geriatric assessment. Dr. Val Smith told my dad “you are in the top percentile for 90 year olds. You are doing very well!” Imagine what she could have said, under a model of sickness rather than humanity. As my sister says “we have our dad back”. The tender, kind dad of our early childhood years is free to be who he is now.
The blessing of memory loss- the forgive and the forget
(isn’t that the universal remedy?)
But how- when the mind loops on the injustices
Big or small- when almost free
takes an about face and licks the wound
Like an animal with an open sore- back and forth, back and forth
Cant leave it alone!
So when the cells of the brain containing this string
from thing to thing
there is only
forgive and forget
Donna Durand Nov 18/19