The past few days have definitely been challenging, and as I begin to write, I know there are more days like this ahead. Life is sometimes like that; it throws things at us we are not prepared for and we have to rise to the challenge, or sink, it’s as simple as that.
The challenge I’ve faced over the past week or so, has all centred around my dad. If you have been reading my ‘Secrets’ page, you will realise that he has been central to so many challenging episodes throughout my life, and these past days have just presented another one.
Dad’s vascular dementia has definitely worsened over the past months; his brain seems to have locked away all the hurt he has caused over the years. When I look at dad now, I see a sad, frail and diminished version of himself for portions of the time, whilst at others he can be quite forceful and even aggressive. Whichever he is, it not at all easy to deal with. The sad version of dad often feels very sorry for himself and craves attention, and then the aggressive side of him continues to make demands on his family and carers. It feels like every element of his basic personality traits are becoming increasingly exaggerated as his dementia progresses.
My mum died of vascular dementia twelve years ago and she spent the last months of her life wailing and screaming in distress. It was so heartbreaking to witness. We heard her before we ever saw her as we entered the hospital ward.
When I look at my dad now, why my mum’s dementia manifested itself in such distress makes so much more sense: she had spent too much of her life upset, anxious or distressed and this was clearly exaggerated in her brain during those final months.
Sadly, when I look back over my dad’s life, I see a man who has spent most of his life focussed and centred upon himself and putting his own needs and wants before the needs of others. I also see a man who regularly dealt quite aggressively (on occasion physically) with people or situations that displeased him.
Over the past twelve years, dad has lived largely alone, save the times he moved a woman in to live with him, but now the time has come for change. After much soul searching, my brother, sister and I have had to act on the advice of the experts and agree on a residential care placement for him.
It weighs so heavily on my heart and I can’t explain why, given all I’ve outlined above. Possibly because of the enormity of what we are doing and the realisation that this is a one way journey; there is no U turn on this road.
Today in church I preached on Jesus setting His sights on the path He was about to take, the path that would lead Him into a direct collision with the authorities and would end on a cross at Calvary. It was a painful decision to take that path, that particular course of action, but it didn’t stop Him doing what He believed to be the right thing.
Now I have to believe and have faith that I am doing the right thing. Whatever has happened in the past, I have to do the right thing to ensure the safety, health chances and day to day welfare and wellbeing for dad.
And so tomorrow he moves into residential care, where I know he will be well looked after and that he will have the stimulation his declining brain capacity needs, for as long as he needs it.
I am doing the right thing 🖤