A diary-style account of Dad's Alzheimer's disease and how we (Kristen and Megan) deal with the challenges of this disease. Dad is hilarious, heart-wrenching, and naked one too many times, and although the disease is confusing and frustrating, we are able to find that humor and love still prevail.
I think about Dad the most this
time of year. It's no secret that Dad wasn't the easiest or nicest
person to be around growing up, but somehow when Christmas rolled
around, that person disappeared for a little while. He wanted to bring a
wonderful Christmas to our home. In the time we all lived under one
roof, Dad succeeded at this.
He was always the first person awake and
waiting for us to peak around the corner to see what Santa brought us.
He loved opening presents as much as we did. He was like a kid. Shaking
packages and making guesses as to what was inside. One piece of tape at a
time - no one ever opened presents as slowly as Dad
did. Sometimes we
had to lend a hand to speed up the process. I remember we would stick
bows to the top of his slightly balding head. Afterwards, he filled our
breakfast plates with a stack of our french toast tradition. It was my
favorite day of the year.
we got older and Dad lived on his own, he still came over for Christmas
day. I woke up early, waiting by the window for his truck to appear in
the driveway. I knew he was the signal for Christmas to start. He still
took his sweet time unwrapping presents and cried every time we gave him
a framed picture of me and my sister. He spent the day with us but it
was always sad to see him go home to an empty house.
week will be our 4th Christmas without Dad. I don't know if Christmas
will ever feel the same without him. Thankfully, these memories of Dad
are real. I cling to them tight because that's all I can do. Our family
continues to make new traditions and this year is the first Christmas
with my sweet niece, Emry. I wish so much she could experience Grandpa
like we did on Christmas day, but we will make sure to carry on traditions of Christmas past.
Life moves fast and things can change with the blink of an eye. Be sure to pause and
take in moments with the ones you love this Christmas because you never know when a memory is all you have left of someone. -Megan
Some things never change. Bows on Dad's head a couple Christmases ago.
With the big holiday fast approaching, here is my wish for everyone this holiday season... Sit down with your Parents and Grandparents and ask them about their life, their childhood, their favorite memories, or their favorite recipe... Whatever it may be, take the chance to savor and learn about whatever it is that makes them who they are! You never know when those loved ones will be taken from you physically or mentally.