What a day this has been! Last night, we were planning on heading over to visit family and to stay over and then spend the day today with my grandfather (Papa) prior to heading home this afternoon to make it in time to serve at church. That quickly changed after a chaotic day that peaked when I forgot my daughter as she got off the bus and she found herself locked out of our home (Insert bad-mom feelings here). That was when I decided we needed an evening of rest.
This morning woke up to busyness as I overslept and found myself behind from the moment I opened my eyes (not a good way to start). With knowing we would only have 4-5 hours there, I wanted to get moving and quickly. It’s been two weeks since we were down to see family and Papa, and earlier this week, he told my daughter over the phone how much he missed her (a sure sign that we have to get there and soon).
We got on the road in record time (30 min – although I didn’t have breakfast) and would be able to squeeze 4.5 hours in, with the majority of it being at the nursing home with Papa. We pulled in after picking up my mom to find my uncle visiting. The moment Papa saw mom (his daughter), he broke down into tears. (Alzheimers is a cruel disease. He remembers feeling terrified, alone, abandoned, and even attacked, but not the love and support that he receives on a daily basis.) Now you need to remember, I have only ever seen this 95 year-young man cry once, and that was when he lost his bride of 60+ years. There are no words to describe the tearing at my heart to see him so miserable.
Two other times during our visit, he broke down as well, once while chatting with me alone. I couldn’t find the right words to reassure him that we always love him. I didn’t want to say things such as “remember,” “never forget,” etc. What a terrible thing to find yourself awake in the middle of the night, with no concept of the time, and no one there to talk to or comfort you; just strangers who won’t let you call your daughter because she’s sleeping. And the worst part is it stays with you – there’s no way to whip that memory away.
My daughter was the healing medicine for him today. They played “basketball” with a little hoop and ball set from the therapy room and she had him smiling and laughing. What a joy to see the young able to comfort the old. When I was struggling with words, she used actions.