Monday 13 July 2009

The "A" word

My Mum said it today so it must be real. I don't want to think about it but I suppose I'll have to wrap my already battered and bruised heart around it eventually.

They called it "mild cognitive impairment" to start with. A few lapses here and there, becoming more and more frequent. Ask him to go out for milk and he comes back with bread.

My dad's short term memory is shot to pieces.

They say he is developing Altzheimer's.

He's 77 and we are going to lose him bit by bit, memory by memory.

Today he was cheerful and joking about the past. The past is clearer to him than the present. He remembers that I was a "good" baby who didn't cry too much, and if you ask he will tell the story of how he used to feed me and when I'd had enough I would whip my head around so fast that the food would go in my ear. Or the story of how he taught the dog to play the piano. Or how he used to scare me and my brother silly by reading "The three billy goats gruff" and "Little red riding hood." How he would get to the scary bit and turn the page oh-so-very-slowly and we would sink lower into the sofa and squeal with terrified delight. He can't remember any more that I don't take sugar in my tea.

Tomorrow we are taking my parents with us on my birthday adventure. We want them to have some good times.

I feel selfish but I want him to meet a grandchild before he leaves us and I want to walk down an aisle on his arm (must start planning our wedding!).

My Mum bought some videos from a market,
"I bought Fatal Attraction for your father."
"Well I don't think you have to worry about that kind of thing these days now do you"
"Ah, there's no harm in reminding him".
You have to giggle sometimes or the worries of the world will just suck you down.

Fathers day 2006, when we joked about "senior moments", before I met and fell in love with Ray, before we became members of the dead baby club. When I could still laugh so much that my sides hurt and my belly ached.

Ray put it perfectly. "Your dad is such a gentle soul..."


  1. I'm so very sorry. We just found out that my 80 year old uncle has "rapidly progressing alzheimer's". It has come as quite a shock to the family. My dad, especially, is heartbroken.

    Sending prayers for your family, especially your dad.

  2. Oh Barb, giant big squeezable hugs for you my friend.

  3. Oh, dear Barbara, love to your handsome Dad. ((Hugs))

  4. Barbara - that picture made me burst into tears. The pure hapiness and love they project makes it clear the kind of life you live with your Ray - poppet!


  5. What a fantastic picture!
    Sending you much love. We are on this journey with a family member also.

  6. Oh, honey- one more thing I wish we didn't have in comon. My beloved grandfather, too, is struggling with something like this- not quite the same but also robbing us of him. Our whole wedding was designed around his being able to be there. It is one of the sweetest memories of my life, and so painful to think about letting him go bit by bit.

    One thing shines through in that picture, though- the love you two have for each other and the joy you take in each other's company. Hold on to that.

  7. Oh, Barbara - sending you much love & hugs and give your dad one for me too. xoxo

  8. I am so sorry B. It's terrible.

    I do hope you get married and pregnant soon (in whatever order it happens!)

  9. I'm so sorry Barb, I'm losing my mother slowly to MS. It's terrible to watch your parents become like children, it defies logic. How possibly could this strong person who raised me, protected me and taught me so much become frail and confused? It's heartbreaking. Your dad is so handsome and you look so divinely happy in that picture. Wishing you more memories in the making with your dear daddy...Hugs

  10. That is such a beautiful photograph. You both look so loved and loving. I'm so sorry to hear that your beloved Dad is becoming ill.

    Hope you have some lovely times on your birthday adventure. And for so much more. xx

  11. Oh Barbara, I wish it were so very different. When does the universe cut us all a break?! So much love to you today and always.

  12. Happy Birthday Barbara!

    Am so sorry for your father....he looks so nice, and loving in the photograph...

    Just hoping that his progress into the disease is very very very very slow...can it not be arrested totally?

  13. Thinking of you and your family. It will e a hard road, but sounds like you all love each other so much. I hope his progression is slow, giving him more time to remember his loved ones.

  14. Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your dad. What an evil illness. I will be thinking of you and your family.

  15. What a beautiful picture of your dad. Sending you hugs and love to your family.

  16. The picture explains it all. Pure LOVE & JOY. I'm so sorry your father is facing this illness. It's just not fair.

    Happy Birthday Barbara. Make some great memories with your parents to treasure forever.
    Your in my thoughts,

  17. Oh, no (and you can substitute the no word with many many others...). I'm so sorry to hear your dad's suffering. It's a cruel, cruel world and all we can do is try to keep going and be positive and upbeat.

    Wonderful picture, yes.
    One day at a time.

    Sending you lot's of love
    xx Ines

  18. What a precious picture. I want to give your Dad a hug, it is easy to see his "gentle soul". Your family remains in my thoughts. Sending much love, many hugs and the best of vibes for all things wonderful!

  19. I'm so sorry to hear that you and your mom will be the keepers of the memories in the years to come. Your dad must be pretty dear to you.



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