Sunday, October 18, 2009

~YOU'RE STILL YOU - One Tiny Memory at a Time~

WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL - 1975-1976

Yesterday as I sat next to my aging Father and tried desperately to carry on a conversation with him I felt my face grow hot and my heart start to panic. In all the times I’ve visited him over the years, from the very beginning of his Alzheimer’s/Dementia diagnosis and his Nursing Home INCARCERATION, he’s never ever not known me.

He's not known other people, but never NOT ME.

I want my Dad to get well. That is what I’ve been asking from God, and anything less has been unacceptable. I’ve prayed for such a long time for healing to come and for the TORMENTOR that has invaded his mind to find a new home. Still, the intruder has stayed on. This un-welcomed visitor has now taken up permanent residency inside my Father’s brain and he refuses to go.

“This isn’t LIVING!!” I thought to myself.

“I HATE THIS!! He would HATE THIS!!!”

Truthfully I wanted to curse. I really did. But…there isn’t a vile enough word in the English language that can describe how it feels to stand along the sidelines and watch helplessly as a once vibrant mind turns into nothing more than a blank stare.

After almost an hour of soft smiles and sporadic conversation, I grabbed my purse and bent down to kiss the forehead of my restless Father.

“I miss you sooooo much, Daddy…and I love you!” I said. “I’ll be back soon!”

“I love you, too!" he added.

As I moved towards the door his voice continued…


“You know...you remind me of my little daughter, Becky Sue!”

And for that tiny moment, that memory was enough.

Blessings to you as God reveals His never-ending mercy…Rebecca

40 comments:

The French Bear said...

Rebecca, your post has touched my heart..... I do hope that one little ray of recognition helped. It is so hard to watch a loved one suffer. Hang in there and know that so many of your friends are thinking and praying for you.
Hugs,
Margaret B

The Green Pea said...

You are a wonderful daughter. I can tell that you and your Father had a great relationship. How sweet and lovely. God Bless you and your Father. sandi

Princess Of Pink said...

Praying for you. I know how you feel, my mom passed away from severe aggressive dementia (Alzheimer) 3 yrs ago. I know how hard it is when they don't recognize you anymore as their child. My mom never recognized ME, but she saw other people (people she disliked so much) in me and called me by their names etc. Very hard. So I really DO know how you feel.

Praying for you and your loved ones.

Hugs from the Netherlands, from Marian

Holly- Girls At Heart said...

Dearest Rebecca, I haven't experienced this first hand so I can only imagine the pain and feeling of helplessness! Here's a big ~ HUG ~ and a I have a big hope for the comfort that I know our Lord has for you and your Dad. ♥

cottagepinkperfection said...

Rebecca, as I read this my heart is heavy for you and your father. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you are feeling for your father and for yourself at having lost a piece of him. I am sure you have many beautiful memories of your time together. I pray that those memories will be of some small comfort to you. I will keep you both in my prayers.

Blessings,
Marie

Sharon's Cottage Quilts said...

Oh Rebecca, what a tender moment..I imagine that you caught your breath for that one second in time. His mind may not remember, but his heart will never forget..you.
Blessings Friend for you and your daddy as you travel this long and lonesome road.
Hugs~Sharon

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Dearest Rebecca,

My heart cries for you. My 94 yr old mom has dementia which is advancing rapidly. She still seems to know my brother & me, but no one else. One visit it took her a long time to recognize me and that was so hard. I can't imagine how hard this is for you. But I know if the Lord doesn't take her home that day unrecognition is waiting for me too.

You will be in my prayers Rebecca. We have to keep our faith even when we want to scream. And if you need to scream & curse... just do it and get it over with. Our God understands the pain we have in these lessons of life.

I'm hugging you so tightly right now! Sherry

Marilyn said...

Dearest Rebecca....
This is like reliving my life with my Dad in the nursing home. He had last stage Congestive Heart Failure & Alsheimer. (sorry for the spelling error..)
I too felt the whole gambit of anger to sorrow watching him. It got to the point where he thought I was his mother. He greeted me with "Mommy!!". (His Mother died when he was 12.)
This is probably one of the hardest things, we as children, will ever have to do. Just do as I did... Pray to God to give you the strength to love him no matter what!! Somewhere in there he is still that strong man you knew as your Dad!!
You are in my prayers......
Love,
Marilyn

C'est Moi, Julie Marie said...

Oh Rebecca, your daddy will always know it is you... I know deep inside they do, even if they cannot say so... it is such a devasting thing, but please always talk to him knowing he DOES hear what you are saying and understand... when my sweet sister was so ill they told us she could not hear us... and no need to talk to her... I talked to her constantly and she later told me she heard and understood every word... love and prayers to you and your dear daddy... Julie Marie

Edie Marie's Attic said...

PS Please enter me in your giveaway Rebecca. I'm already a follower and I will post a button w/ link to my sidebar! Thanks!!

BECKY said...

Oh Rebecca, I have walked this path as well, my friend. God helped me to find a unique perspective along the way that changed how I looked at this painful process. I'll email you about it.

God knew you needed that, sweetie.
He always gives us what we need to show His gracious tender love for us.

Hugging you across the miles,
Love and prayers,
Becky

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

GM Becky...I watched as my mama when through ALS and at the last she didn't even know who I was...I would look at her and see my Mama...but it was just a shell that looked like my Mama...AlS is horrible and I so wished we could get a cure for it...I know my Mama never wanted to live the way she did...there was no life left...some times when I seen her I would want to knock on her head like knocking on a door and say Hello Mama are you there...And Becky I prayed every day that God would call her home...hope you have a great day my friend...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Victorian1885 said...

Oh Rebecca..my heart breaks for you and I know exactly what you are feeling. My mother too has this awful cruel disease and she has been in the home since she was 70 years old..seven years ago. She has not known me for over four of those years and it breaks my heart everytime I go see her. I do believe somewhere in their minds they know we are there and when we meet again in Heaven this will be discussed. Blessing to you and your family..take care and know you are still your Daddy's little girl..
XXX

Wanda

Lee Laurie said...

Oh Rebecca,
I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this and your daddy. I know how it is to have someone you love deeply not to remember you. My great granny that raised me until I was 16, developed this terrible disease and she went through all of that where she didn't know who was who. I went to see her everyday when I got off work so that I wouldn't be one of the ones that she forgot. I believe that it did help because for a long time she would always know who I was even when she didn't know her own children. But then one day out of the blue, she called me 'Mama'. Her mama had died when she was only a little girl. It brought tears to my eyes that she didn't know me anymore. I just kept visiting her daily and sometimes she knew me and sometimes she didn't. I stayed with her the night before she passed away at the hospital. The doctors all told me that she wouldn't know anyone because of the medicine that she was taking.(She had cancer) Once when I was rubbing her forhead and telling her that I loved her, a tear fell from her eye and she told me that she knew and she loved me too. She passed away the next day while I was at work. I haven't talked about this in a long time. It hurts my heart. I was 20 years old when she left to go be with Jesus. Love your Daddy like you always have, I believe that he does know who you are.

Hugs to you,
Lee Laurie

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Rebecca:
My heart hurt as I read this until I saw that tiny ray of sunshine at the end of your story. I can't even imagine how hard this is for you, but please know that you are in the prayers of those who care for you. God will give you the strength to endure...and give you moments like those to help carry you.
Blessings,
Donna

Happy@Home said...

I just discovered your blog. I can completely relate to your post today as my mom is near the end of her journey with this awful disease known as Alzheimer's. My heart goes out to you and your dear dad. It isn't easy.

Anonymous said...

Oh Rebecca, I know all too well the heartbreak of Alzeheimers disease. My own mother is 97yrs. young and was diagnosed 12 yrs. ago. It has been quite a journey, so much so that I"m writing a book. Don"t ever let anyone tell you that he doesn"t know your there. He knows! All we can do at this point is love them and tell them often that you love them. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Debbie (Maine) campmoxie@yahoo.com.au

Anonymous said...

Rebecca,
I want to share with you a quote from John Piper. "Through the deepest possible pain, God is ENOUGH. He is GOOD. He will take CARE of us. He will get us THROUGH this... God is most GLORIFIED in you, when you are most SATISFIED in Him... in the midst of LOSS, not prosperity."
May you find your peace and your comfort in knowing that God is Good, He is Sovereign... and He is ENOUGH.
-Linda

Linda said...

Rebecca,
You are such a wonderful daughter!
My mother went through this exact thing with BOTH of her parents(my grandparents), and it was horrible to watch such loving and bright people fade. Now my mother is wondering if she will be next as she nears 80 years old. Keep the faith and keep praying. I have watched so many of God's miracles here on earth in my life. He must have a reason for this hardship for you. Bless you!

Fairy Footprints said...

Rebecca, how awful for you. I know what this is like, as a child I watched my grandmother go through Alzheimer's. Its hard its hard for you to look at and not understand why they can not remember. All the studies that school have shown me with this disease it unfortunatley it eats away their memory cells and they never come back. I pray that we can find a cure to stop the Alzheimers from taking precious memories away from our loved ones. This must be scary for you. Hang on and stay strong sweety God is there and will not give you more than you can handle. God bless you.

Blessings,
Heidi

Dolores said...

Oh sweet Rebecca,
Don't you cherish the wonderful pictures you have, and looking back on the good times.

We know that God will not give us more than we can handle, but somedays are so much harder than others. I'm so glad that your dad remembered his little girl (whatever age she might be).

In my prayers.
Love,
Dolores

Shelia said...

Oh, Dear One, I'm so sorry for what you're having to go through and your sweet dad! But how sweet that God gave you this little moment, even it wasn't really what you wanted. I haven't been through the exact situation as you, but do understand somewhat. My dad passed away in 1997. He had been in a terrible car accident and lived 3 months in the hospital before he went to Heaven. It's so hard to see our parents like this. I'll pray for your strength and understanding, Rebecca! Our God is faithful.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Sares said...

This disease is just horrendous. We lost my Great Grandfather to this. Hang in there, you're in my thoughts and prayers.

June said...

I will try to type this through my tears and tell you how your lucky your father is to have you,and you him. I can't take your pain away, but I can share it with you.
Hugs and love,
June

blushing rose said...

I am in tears ... you know we went thru this with Harold's Mother.

Oh, Rebecca, it is so hard, the pain is so sharp ... know I love you & am sorry you, or anyone, including your Father must suffer thru this nasty disease.

I remember when Harold's Mother continued to call him by his brother's name ...

You are so right, no word is strong enough to describe this vile intruder.

Hugs of love, sweet one ~ Marydon

Carol said...

Dear Rebecca,

You are witnessing first hand, just what a debilitating disease alzheimers/dimentia can be. Your emotions are understandable, as we have no control over what is transpiring.
God will help you get through the frustrations. He understands, & there is a lesson to be learned. Mine was, to have more Patience with people and family and to be more forgiving.

My poor father was 93 when he passed from alzheimers & congenital heart failure. The nursing home had a time with him as far as keeping his clothes on. He told them "I am an Angel, and Angels don't wear clothes"

When his Minister would see Dad, they ended their visit with reciting The Lord's Prayer. He said Dad never missed a word, it was in his D&A. Now how powerful is that?

Know that others are praying and will hold you up during your difficult journey.
Blessings
Carol

Andrea said...

Dearest friend, my heart weeps as one with yours. I am so sorry for your agony.

How I wish I could give you perfect words that would mend your brokenness.

I have not yet walked the way you are walking, but one day, I shall surely be in pain, as I look at my failing mother, and it hurts even now to consider that truth.

I do know this. Your father does love you very, very much, and those precious words he spoke to you as you left tell you so.

And as much as he loves you, your heavenly Father loves you more. It's such a hard thing to fathom. But it is true. You are His daughter, and if I know anything in my heart, I know you are special to Him.

Take rest, dear one. God hears your heart, and He will meet your need.

Much Love,

Andrea

Vicki said...

Hello, sweet Rebecca,
I know your heart must be breaking. Mine is breaking for you as I read your post today. May memories of happier days with your wonderful daddy always sustain you! I am praying for peace and courage for your father, you and your entire family. Blessings to you, dear friend! Vicki

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

Rebecca......My mother had alzheimers and it is a very sad and unfair disease. So many of us feel your pain. Hang in there!~Patti

Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Oh Rebecca, my heart just hurts for you and your sweet daddy. I am so sorry you have to feel this and watch him go through this. I am sending hugs and prayers for both of you.
Love,
Amy

Deanna said...

Dearest Rebecca,
Thank you for publishing this touching post. You have spoken from your heart.

The aging body and mind can become so frail as we live in this fallen world. You know first hand about how difficult this can be to see a loved one slowly disappear right before your eyes. You know what's happening with your Dad.

Others may not know what's happeneing with their aging parent and that's a different road all together.

May God comfort you and bless you each day. May your good memories be cherished and may you be thankful for the good parents you may have had as you grew into adulthood.
d

Mary H said...

~~Rebecca~~I understand...I too had that same conversation with Mom and saying..."Mom, I wish we could visit like we used to", as she just looked at me.
Your Dad recognized you the best way he knew how. What a blessing. The little things like this add up to be great things appreciated later. I did shed a tear reading this for you. Love you dear friend and know I am always here for you...Mary H.

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Rebecca, My prayers are with you. We are going thru the same thing with my husbands dad. You have received some sound advice here. You will be re-united with your Daddy in Heaven, how wonderful that will be!
Blessings dear, Debra

Willow said...

I am so sorry for you and your family Rebecca. I have known many friends and families that have gone through what you are. There are just no words to say. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Willow

chandelier magic - beach house said...

Hi Rebecca,

you are so in my thoughts - it's got to be the hardest thing to deal with.

it's good to know that his heart will always react to you even when his brain doesn't.

take care,

Marsha

Anonymous said...

Becky--

Sometimes a memory is all we need. Memories are very important to me and I hold on to them dearly. So far your father know me, I pray it continues so.

I see your dad every day and most often, he askes about his children. He loves all of you so much and I try to keep him updated on what is going on in each of your lives.

When I talk with him, he responds well, but he tires easily. Sometimes, I take my crocheting with me on my visits and sit by his bedside -- watching him sleep. I miss him. I want to be close to him -- as long as I can.

Thanks for visiting him and don't give up. Keep your prayers going.

I love you dear daughter--

Hugs-- Mom

English Cottage in Georgia said...

I have tears running down my checks from your heartfelt post. Keep talking, I KNOW (in my heart) that he feels you and your words are comforting to your Dad.
This life is so short in the span of eternity. Your Dad will be whole and healthy one day in God's time.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Rebecca...my heart hurts for you...and your dad. This disease is the cruelest I know of...it robs the person of so much more than memories.....I pray that a cure will be found soon to end this monster. Take the good moments as they come...they are small gifts...and remember the good times as you look back.
My dearest friend of 25 years died recently of the killer. She was just 75 a week before her death...one of the sweetest, most fun, caring friends I have ever known. She did not recognize me the last 18 months of her life and it was very hard on me to know she didn't
I know she is at peace know, but I miss her so much....
I pray for your dad and for you to continue to be his little girl, Becky Sue, as long as he is with you.
You inspire me every day, dear Becca........love you, Francy

My Pink & Cream Cottage said...

Hey my sweet Rebecca, my heart bleds for you & all I really want to do (all I really WISH I could do) is hold you in my arms & tell you everything is going to be fine, alright, you can have your Daddy back as he use to be, but sadly I cannot, all I can give you is my never ending friendship, my blessings, my thoughts for you & your family & most of all my love. Your Mum wrote the most beautiful comment I think I have ever read, Reb the next time you go to visit your Dad take your memories with you....

Lyn xxx

Cottage Sunshine said...

Hi Rebecca,

I haven't been in the blogland much this week with so much work and showing homes (real estate is picking back up due to spring)...but I am here late at the office and about to leave but I always enjoy reading your blog. I haven't had a chance to read a whole lot of your entries, but I am always blessed when I do.

I happened upon this post about your dear father and it made me think of my mother...as tears slip down my face. She has Alzheimers and we had to put her in the nursing home two years ago...my best friend. It is a wicked torment and I understand your ache...I really do.

I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day and may God bless you for sharing your heart to all of us people in blogland! It is truly a blessing, my new friend! :)

Love, Carolyn

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