Friday, June 4, 2010

Learning About Alzheimer's -- Part 5 of 5

This is final part of Chapter Eight from Where Love Once Lived. Please let me know what you think of it.

Brian’s dad shrugged. “I’m glad you got to talk to her. But don’t get your hopes up because of it and think she’s getting well. She comes and goes. When she’s aware, and there are fewer times when that happens now, she’s usually sad. Probably because she understands what’s happening. At least she’s happy when she’s not aware of her condition. Sometimes she dances like this in the middle of the night. I never get enough sleep anymore.”

“I didn’t get a chance to talk to her much,” Brian said.

“Well, neither did I!” He said it with a loud voice, one he rarely used.

“I’m sorry,” Brian said. “I didn’t stop to think how painful this is for you.”

“It’s okay, Grandpa,” Amy said. “They say the caregivers are the ones who suffer the most.”

“That’s bull. She’s the one suffering. Not me. I complain, but I don’t mind taking care of her. Caring for someone at a time like this is part of loving them. She’d do the same for me. When I first learned she was sick, I prayed for God to let us trade places. She was a wonderful, loving woman who looked for ways to help others all her life.” His voice cracked, and he pushed away the start of a tear before it could fall from his eye. “Oh, God. Here I am talking about her as if she if she’d passed.”

Brian put an arm around him and felt how small his father had become. The man who’d nurtured him now needed nurturing.

“We’ll get help for you, okay? Are you eating enough?”

His dad pulled away from him and looked at Brian's mother, who was still moving around the room, swaying to the song she sang.

“Don’t worry about me. Take care of yourself. Until she got sick, her daily prayer was for you to return to the church. You could do that for her, couldn’t you?”

Mother finished her dance and sat at the dining room table, folding pieces of newspaper until they wouldn’t fold again. He couldn’t stand to see her like this. He couldn’t stand his father’s accusatory voice. He hugged his mother’s unresponsive body, nodded to Amy, and patted his father on the back.

“I’m sorry. I have to leave.”

Amy intercepted him at the front door. “Are you okay?”

He hugged her. “I want to be alone for a while. I’ll see you later, okay?”

“I understand.” She kissed him, and he could see tears in her eyes and knew they were for him. She whispered into his ear, “Grandpa is in pain. Don’t let what he says hurt you.”

He’d started the day anticipating a pleasant visit with his parents. Now one of them didn’t know who he was and the other seemed to think he was to blame. On top of that, he was sad because he’d missed the opportunity to introduce Karen to his mother.

Please let me know what you think about this chapter. Have you had experience with Alzheimer's? If so, does this ring true?

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