My Daddy is my hero. Not many men can say that, unfortunately. He sends daily emails chronically detailing what life is like at home as the primary caregiver for a spouse and soul mate in the final stages of Alzheimer's disease. In part because it keeps him in the loop with all of the family (like me) who live elsewhere, and I'm the furthest away of his 7 children. And in part because it helps keep him sane and he's considering writing a book about his experiences some time in the future. He struggles with his emotions most of the time, but never as much as when he has to be firm with her to cooperate, and it is frustrating to not know what she understands. He feels a tremendous burden of guilt afterward, in addition to all of the daily stress and personal agony - and I want desperately to take some of that away, though clueless as to how - until he said this tonight, and I wrote him the response that follows.
"I was moving around in the house putting up some items I brought home and she seemed to want to stay close to me following me wherever I went. I hugged her and loved on her and she seemed to like that. Maybe she had missed me while I was gone? I wish I knew what goes on in her mind and what she might or might not know and/or understand."
I believe all of those things, but mostly because you're the go-to, you're the protector, and THAT'S who I believe she knows you are or represent on some fundamental level. It's who she's always known, and what is most perfect about life; so those gestures are thank you's for all the comfort and love you bring day by day and hour by hour. YOU are her normal, her most consistent sense of constancy, and her senses are still telling her from your scent, your touch, your presence in a room, everything you ever represented years before this time would be known - that she knows you the best ways she can, and knowing her, hoping it is enough. Remember this on days when you hit a limit or have a moment and give yourself a break when you have to do something you don't want to do. Sometimes there just is no other way in that moment, and if you wouldn't begrudge her that, I can assure you she isn't begrudging you.
I believe these things because it is all I have any right to hope for, but not as much as you all deserve. I believe these things because we all have to take comfort in SOMETHING. But mostly, I believe these things because I believe in YOU.I am the son of an utterly amazing and selfless man with a fiery temper, and an equally tempered and amazing woman with a bleeding heart and a smile for everyone - but don't turn your back on her. In fact, if either of them is ever pissed off, W A L K. A W A Y. I wouldn't change a thing.