Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back In the Saddle Again

There is a saying that says "time heals all wounds" but i disagree.  There might be a particular type of healing but it is not the healing that one so desperately seeks upon being wounded.  Rather, what time does is makes things different.  It is not easier.  It is different.  It is not all better.  It is different.  It is not all right.  It is different.

Mom passed away two years ago and the wound is still very much open and very susceptible.  True, the tears are not as frequent but they are still as painful, still full of raw emotion and can still be set off by the slightest thought, image or scent.  I still long to hug her again and to talk with her.

Dad is doing remarkably well in his new setting.  We did get him in to an assisted living facility that specializes in memory care. It is a small place, about 16 residents. The staff are absolutely wonderful and the program he is on is helpful just as long as their accounting team is on the ball.

Dad has a cost-share for his residents and medical needs and it is based on his income.  Even though we supplied the company with both sources of his income, they neglected to include one of them in their figures.  Fast-forward many months and we get a letter stating they neglected to include his retirement and decided that we were not being charged enough money.  We suddenly had a bill of over $6000.  So where was his retirement check going?  Bills.  Bills and more bills.  Thank God they were there and I'm happy to report that his bills are all paid off - except this big one.

We started a fund raiser to help keep Dad where he is because we need to pay this off next month or risk him loosing his housing and assistance.  The site for the fundraiser is www.gofundme.com/ahomeforbruce

We have reached out to his brothers and sisters in the fire fighting profession as well as the forest service.  Several people have given but we have a long way to go.  We are praying that people will have open hearts and pay it forward by giving to this needy cause.

So back to Dad.  His health, besides his Alzheimer's, is very well. He walks and requires assistance when bathing but all other personal duties he still manages to take care of on his own and for that I'm truly thankful.  Dad is still able to maintain a high level of dignity. He is always dressed properly and walks around with a big smile on his face.  To speak with him for a few moments you would not know anything is slowing down but then you realize he lacks the ability to lead a conversation.  One must always be ready with question and statements that he can respond to.  He enjoys walking down the pathways of his youth and speaks with his brother at least once a week on the phone.  Together they discuss childhood school chums, the house they grew up in, and the places they would sneak off to.  Dad can still walk you through his childhood home including the exact address and where everything was in the house. Unfortunately he cannot so easily describe his current residence and gets confused between this place and the place he shared with Mom.  Dad speaks often about "going downstairs" to see what's going on when, in fact, he lives on one level and activities take place down the hallway.  He knows he is eating well but will never be able to tell you what he had even five minutes after eating it.  The staff tells me his appetite is fine and that he enjoys his sweet treats.  THAT will never change, I'm sure.

He speaks of Mom often on the phone with me.  He stays he speaks with her and kisses her photo good morning and good night each day. Several photos adorn his room and we are constantly talking about her.  He is beside himself when he learns she has been gone for over two years.  He does not remember exactly what happened but he knows that she is waiting for him and that someday they will be forever together.  Their love has not faded.  You can hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes.  His love is not here but his love is still caring for him.

As the disease continues to progress I find myself torn, now living a distance away so that I can not see any progress (or decline) on a daily basis.  Perhaps I do not need to see those signs but I feel lost not experiencing them.  Dad loves the fact that I am where I am and that I'm continuing to pursue my dreams.  A validation that I needed, although I am fully aware of how self-serving it is. Not sure why I need to be absolved of my absence but it is what it is and I wrestle with it daily.

I'm glad to start up this blog again the absence.  Truth is, it was tiring me out.  For those of you who have followed all this time I'm sure you can see how that can happen.  Burn out, perhaps.  It was a long journey but it has not ended yet so after some resting time I'm "back in the saddle".  As always, thankful for those of you who read and support all of this.  And a special thanks to those people who have helped, financially, with our fund raiser.  Your generosity touches all of us deeply.

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