August 26th, 2009

More Info On My Father - Things Falling Apart

It's a little disconcerting for me to have had him on my brain so much recently in conjunction with all of the coincidences occurring around me right now. I made that art piece about him just a few days before he tried to contact me for the first time in almost 2 years. Yesterday, after I collected myself and decided I needed some distraction, I turned on the stereo in my bathroom to listen to some music while I'm shaving and showering, and the song that was playing was Luther Vandross's "Dance With My Father".

Yeah.

I'm also facing a huge life change that I'm in no way truly prepared for, and it is major - but MAJOR. It's going to require a lot of energy and resolve and while I'm both frightened and excited, I'm mostly just overwhelmed. It's going to be fine, in fact I think it's going to be great. It's just the timing right now that I'm a bit dodgy about.

I spoke with my sister yesterday to see if she had any information on my father. I was curious and a little worried that he might be sick or worse and that was motivating him towards me. That might explain his effort to friend me on Facebook, as that action on his part certainly explained to me that his methods - however inappropriate or fucked up where I am concerned, are usually motivated by some manner of extreme duress. Mind you, I excuse him for nothing equating bad behavior, I'm just curious to know what I'm dealing with here and having that information makes it easier for me to decide what I'm going to do, what I need to do, and what I can live with where he is concerned.

My sister explained that in the past year my stepmother's illness has begun to take its devastating toll - not only on her, but on him as well. She was diagnosed 10 years ago with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Evidently the disease has been explosive and she is one of the very rare 5% of cases that the progression of the disease happens over a period of weeks and months instead of years. It also affects people who are generally younger than those with a normal Alzheimer's diagnosis. My stepmother is only a couple of years older than my oldest brother, who is in his middle fifties. She is a gentle, sweet, and incredibly kind lady who has only brought joy to my father's life, and he loves her passionately and completely. My father was miserable until he married her, and since knowing her has only ever been a much happier and gentle man 95% of the time they have been married.

She has regressed to the mentality and behaviors of a child. She flies into rages and becomes combative. She cannot remember who her children are most days. He has even told my stepbrother and sister that, while it breaks his heart to have to tell them, that if they wanted to spend some time with their mother while she may still remember them, they need to do it now. She tells him she doesn't love him and wants to go home to her parents, whom are long since gone. It is only a matter of time (and a relatively short time at that) before she will not be capable of normal body function control. This disease progression will result in organ failure and death. The medications and treatments she has been undergoing for the past decade have not staved off the majority of symptoms and in some ways seem to have accelerated their voracity. She is starting to fade very quickly and the next stages coming are only going to get more difficult and heartbreaking.

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