Saturday, 26 December 2009

57 years!

My Dad came to dinner today...first time he has ever spent Christmas apart from his darling wife (Mum) in 57 years. Mum has been ill for a long long time now with vascular senile dementia. She's had it for 8 years now, I can even remember when it first started, it was my eldest daughters wedding, and she just kept on going up to total strangers and just standing and looking and Mum had started to shuffle slightly. Diagnosis came about 8 months later. It has been a tragic disease and a very unfair one. Dad has looked after her at home until about 3 months ago, the last 3 years she has been bed ridden, with loss of all bodily functions including speech. It pains her to swallow but even though the Nursing Home gives her paliative care and very small things (all liquidsised to eat)...Dad still feels that the longer he puts food in, the longer he keeps her alive, he doesn't realize that the pure effort of even swallowing is hard for her and to see her try to drink from a straw, takes all her effort. He just doesn't see the deterioration, my darling Mum is even more of a living skeleton than before, her hair is so thin, her frail hands all now knarled and closed, her sunken eyes. Her torso is square and has been for a long long time, she is and has been stuck at right angles for a couple of years. She sleeps most of the time now and will occasional manage to open her tired eyes and peep out, she hasn't known me for years now but sometimes just sometimes there is a momentary glance and a weak smile, that if I were to blink I would miss it...when it does happen I cherish it. When I go to visit her I cannot bear it if she is awake and watch me walk out of the room....I have said "goodbye" so many times now. Three times when Mum was in hospital when I was taken in the "small" room but she rallied. She must have a very strong heart. Going back to the saying "cheerio"...I always go back and stroke her back to sleep, kiss her and whisper in her ear "I love you Mum, thank you for being my Mummy".

So with Dad sitting at the dinner table today, it felt very strange, as even though she hasn't sat there for years, she's always been at home with darling Dad. I could see he was struggling, so we spoke about lots of nice things, spoilt him with dinner, mince pies, tea/coffee, sweets galore, he fell asleep for a while and then we watched an old Some Mothers Do Have Em!.....I nearly wee'ed myself laughing, sometimes they are so much better when you've seen them a few times before, and then Dad left to go and spend the evening by the bed of his darling wife, where he will sit for a few hours, holding her hand, wiping her mouth, giving her juice and generally loving her.......

My Christmas Day was filled with DD...SIL and twin grandbubs.....absolutely magic and magical, I so treasure the times.....hope yours was good too.


A Country Girl said...

What a beautiful post - happy and sad. Brought a tear to my eye.
Enjoy the rest of your Christmas - memories are powerful things at this time of your, aren't they?
CG xx

Homemakers Tales said...

I feel for you my sister has this and was diagnosed finally at age 55 she had it for some years prior her husband is like your Dad ...totally devoted and loves to see her swollow even a teaspoonfull see he still sees that young girl he fell head over heels in love with law my sisters only boyfriend met at 13 ..and no one knows her like he does we have said goodbye to my sis too she is will 70 in March
It is so hard for every family member this is a nasty illness
your story almost word for word how things are with my sister and hubby ! Sending you some love Kieren x

bellaboo said...

I am so sorry.This is so hard for you and your dear father.
Life can be so cruel sometimes.


Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Oh,Teresa...what a touching story! I have been wondering how she was doing. Your dad must be a very special person, as is your mom. I'm sorry that your family is having to go through this. It sounds as though you all make the very best that's possible. Holidays are such a mix of the happiest and saddest of times, aren't they? I'm sending you a big hug...((((((Teresa))))))....Debbie

Knittings Nice! said...

Thank you all so much for your kind words...truly wonderful and to know that there are people understanding and some are going through the same and that somehow....I know but sadly your words do truly help ...once again sending love and hugs to lovely ladies in blogworld.

Russ said...

What a moving post. My grandfather had alzheimer's disease, and it was so sad. My grandma was so attentive to him too. My mom is 77 and in poor health, but at least she's herself. It's just so hard when they're gone but not completely.

On a happy note. I'll bet Christmas is so much fun with those babies around. My husband and I were Christmas shopping last week, and my husband said that he missed having babies. Mmmmm. I'm not so sure about that, but I do look forward to having ten years or so.