11/17/2006

memories we no longer own

I know I've posted before about my step father who has Alzheimer's but it's been awhile. My mom had him admitted to a nursing home back in March because she could no longer take care him by herself. It was one of the hardest things she ever had to do outside of watching the man she loves deteriorate into someone that neither of them recognizes. This Thanksgiving will most likely be the last one he celebrates with us, at our home. It will most likely be the last one where he remembers our names or Alice's sweet face or how much she loves him or how much he adores the sound of her voice when she calls him 'Papa'. It will be the last time Alice sees him where I'll be able to pretend Papa is the same, unchanged, loving man. She's growing up so quickly and as her mind expands, his retreats into a place that none of us are allowed to visit. Soon I'll have to explain why he can no longer remember who she is or why sometimes grown-ups need help with the very things I'm helping her learn like tying her shoes, going to the potty, or putting clothes on. I'm not sure how I'll explain these things since I barely understand them myself. I do not know how I will tell her that Papa will not be there when she wakes up on Christmas morning. Although she's only two, her Papa being present in her life is something she's always known, expected, celebrated. She seems too young to learn the lesson that nothing lasts forever, hell, I'm too young to learn it.

I know that most of us believe that we own our memories, that they are ours now and forever. But they are not. They are simply moments we're allowed to possess for a passage in time until some higher power decides they can be no longer. One day we wake up and like tiny drops of rain washing specs of dirt from a surface, memories no longer exist. A moment is just that - a moment, which disappears the instant that it happens.

Until you watch someone you love, someone that used to know they loved you back - fade into a stranger with no past, you cannot accept that it will happen. Memories become things we no longer own.

Sorry for the gloom just before a weekend...but it's life and as hard as I try to avoid it sometimes - it's always there.

8 Comments:

  1. lash505 said...
    That was a great post. It seems easier for me to look at the past as just moments, nothing more nothing less. check out my site tomorrow I will be mobile via blackberry.
    WDKY said...
    Well, I guess that's just how life is... nothing's permamanent. You know, I remember my ex-ex mother in law used to say "Don't thank me - one day you'll be changing my diapers".
    JR's Thumbprints said...
    Alzheimer's is such a strange disease. When my grandfather had it, he developed "sun-downers" and my grandmother could no longer care for him. Another similar disease is Parkinsons. When my father-in-law had the full onset, he couldn't remember anyone, but small things like how many volts could his battery charge give, he knew quite well. Nice post and I hope your Thanksgiving is memorable.
    kimmyk said...
    It's a sad disease. I can't imagine having wonderful memories filled with love only to forget them maybe the next day.

    I hope the memories you create this week are ones that are enough for the both of you.

    Does Alice understand?
    Tab said...
    oh jeese Network Chick...this must be so hard for you.I cannot imagine.
    YOu are so right..memories are moments we cannot always own forever.
    I am sending you hugs and thanks for sharing this ..you have a big heart:)
    Joe said...
    What a post...I worked in a retirement community for many years, and seeing my clients grow older was the toughest. I hope you have a joyous Thanksgiving.
    Gwen said...
    I know EXACTLY how you feel and what you are going thru. My Gram has dementia. We were very very close when she knew me. Now I am a stranger. I try hard not to focus on it too much because I feel so helpless. She is not sad when I see her. She smiles and is happy. She is like a child. She plays with her food and likes to dance around. Silly she is. I come by it honestly. Reid never knows what to do but he is a pretty good sport when we go to see her.

    Thanks for sharing your situation.

    Your in my thoughts...
    G~
    kimmyk said...
    Happy Thanksigiving to you and your family NWC!!!

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