Emotions are often difficult to deal with after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Some struggle with emotional extremes. Stressful situations can be difficult to deal to deal with also which can lead to times of sudden onset of tears, and also times of anger. Grieving can be difficult also with emotions being raw and experiencing emotional roller coasters. Amazingly, stress was something that I did not have to deal with when Dad was diagnosed over a year ago with brain cancer.
As I look back now at the last year, I think about the work stresses that I had to deal with and the stress of every day living. I can’t think of a time that I felt stress associated with events surrounding Dad’s diagnosis. I remember when I had to make the call to Mom and Dad to tell them of my diagnosis. I thought it would be the hardest call that I had to make. Both Mom and Dad were reassuring, optimistic and very loving in their interaction with me. No stress involved.
Debra and I traveled to Kansas to see Mom and Dad last Sunday, Dad was deteriorating due to the cancer. We arrived Sunday afternoon for our scheduled trip. Mom told Dad that Debra and I were coming so he expected us. I went to the Care Center to see Dad Sunday night, we made eye contact, Mom and I repositioned him in bed a little, and then visited for a while in his room. He went to sleep for the night. At 4:30 in the morning Pastor Ed, Mom and I prayed together in Dad’s room, Dad had gone home. I can’t begin to describe the peace that was present in the room. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the room was remarkable. It was like Dad was being welcomed home by all the Saints in Heaven. The experience is unexplainable.
Dad taught me and my two sisters carpentry, mechanics, work ethic, and love. I was talking about Dad with my neighbor and I made the comment that I had two brothers and two sisters. I had to explain that in Dad’s eyes his two son-in-laws were the same as sons to him. They were part of the family, not just because they are fantastic people and great husbands and fathers but because Dad loved them as deeply and he did his own children. They were special people to Dad. When Debra and I married 5 years ago, she was welcomed into the family with open arms and is also part of our special family bond. Dad loved his kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.
Dad served his county in the Army. He was very patriotic and loved his country deeply. There was always a special place in Dad’s heart for those who served, or are serving. There was definitely a special place in his heart for his grandson who is in active service today. We are all proud of him. Too often we do not say thank you to those who served and to those who are serving. H, you are special, thank you!
Dad was not a physically large man. I recall returning home from college, feeling a little cocky talking to Dad in the living room at home. Dad was noticing I had a little bit of an attitude, so he jokingly made the comment that he could still “take me”. I laughed and said, “I don’t think so”. Mom looking on as we rolled around on the living room floor, chairs being pushed out of the way by the scuffle until the wrestling match concluded. I remember looking up at Dad with my arms pinned to floor, thinking, that was not a good idea, “he is built like a rock”. I couldn’t believe how strong he was.
As a teenager, I remember sitting at the dining room table having lunch. Dad was home for a quick bite before he headed to the county on a service call. I always wondered why Dad was in a hurry when he was at work, he would literally run to his truck to head to the country to work on someone’s equipment. I asked Dad why he ran out to his truck to go on a service call. He explained that there was a farmer out there waiting for him. His combine was broke down, every hour that he couldn’t cut wheat cost him money. Dad knew that he had to do everything he could to get the customer going as quick as he could. He instilled this work ethic in all of his kids.
If you want a good example of marriage, look at Mom and Dad. After 60 years of marriage, I can’t think of anyone that is more in love than Mom and Dad. It showed, it is incredible. Debra and I were talking to Dad several weeks ago, he wanted to make sure we knew that he was married to the most wonderful woman in the world, we agree Dad!
One of that last precious moments I had with Dad happened several weeks ago. He was laying in bed at the care center, I had just given him a hug. He looked up at me and said he was ready to go home. I told him that he wasn’t quiet well enough yet to go home. He looked at me again and repeated himself, this time with a tender look in his eyes, ” I am ready to go home”. I got it.
In the last several years, after a visit or a phone call, I remember now that Dad never said goodbye, it was either, ” I will talk to later”, or ” I will see you later”.
I will see you and talk to later Dad!