Hello to all the followers/readers and apologies for the lack of posts. It’s been over a year and don’t I know why, but like many I am unsure where that year has gone?
Some time and now passed and I am now ready to share with you as to why my guilt has been removed. These blogs also act like a kind of confession…. So here goes.
On the 23rd of December 2020 we finally lost my dementia Dad and I can now admit that I was relieved or am relieved. I can do that without any guilt whatsoever and believe me it’s taken me a while to admit to that, especially to myself.
I never asked to take care of Dad; it simply happened that way. I am not an only child but I stepped up and offered to bring Dad back to the UK in the hope that, what appeared to be a chronic depression at the time, could be medicated and life could resume. But I was wrong. We were all wrong. Dad was, once medicated, displaying very strange signs of things simply ‘going wrong’. A front door not being locked or a belt not done up correctly, or forgetting superbly basic things such as keys to get back in..? All simple little things which, looking back, should have been alarm bells but Dad was 65! So we carried on and blamed it on getting old, but it wasn’t that! It was so much more and shortly after turning 65 he was diagnosed with early onset dementia and then rest, as you readers will know, is history.
I don’t deal well with guilt or a heavy conscience very well hence I blurt everything out that’s in my head, whether that’s good for the people around me or not.. so after a year I can now say That I did my bit. I played my part and did more for my Dad in those latter years than I could ever ask of anyone. I suffer with emotional Tourette’s and when the anniversary of his death came round I woke with a heavy heart that day and a pain I could not explain. But it passed.
The thing about hindsight is it’s a wonderful thing. Who would not love to know those lottery numbers every week and if I could have seen the signs would I have done it all again for Dad? Simply the answer is yes. I learnt a lot about myself over those years too and I realised that deep down inside I care very much about those close to me. Yes of course we all do, but throughout my childhood my Dad was a fairly absent father… in fact we called him a ‘cheque book Dad’ which is truly sad as he was never there when you really really needed him. Sure he could pay for things and maybe to him that was his way of showing that he cared but he was not a present parent by any means after my parents divorce. He was very much an out of sight kind of guy!
I look back at time we had together in his latter years. In the early stages we had some real laughs about him loosing his marbles and some brilliant trips back to Portugal driving driving up and down to visit everyone he missed but the laughter soon subsided along with the very basic skills which made day to day life and travel superbly compliacted. In the 2 years leading up to his death things were becoming very difficult and he would take it out on me whenever I saw him. It was almost, at times, like he despised me. All I can tell you is that when someone you love, who is close to you, behaves like that, it teaches you a form of patience that you never knew you had, let alone existed.
In the year before Dad died he was still walking about. 3 months before he died he became wheelchair and then bed bound.
In the 2 years before Dad died he would still try as best he could to assist with getting dressed. He could still feed himself albeit badly.
In the 3 years before Dad died we still managed to go back to Portugal, albeit the journeys were becoming more and more difficult and incontinence was starting to be flagged up.
In the 4 years before Dad died he could still use a phone and change TV channels and had some idea of who people were.
In the 5 years before Dad died he was still flying on his own but this was the last year he was able to do this! He was also still using an iPad and iPhone…
In the 6 years before Dad died the cracks were starting to appear. So much so that he came to the UK with me and never went back to living alone.
So here I am guilt and burden free. I say guilt free but I know that deep down inside there will always be a lit bit of that left.. our job as parents is to raise our children to go out into the world as good human beings and I think that Dad played his part in that, even at a distance. As a child you want to feel safe and secure and loved. I think that there comes a point in life where you have to take account for your own actions and not blame your upbringing on how you have turned out as an adult. Sure it adds to shaping you but ultimately we are our own people with our own path to navigate in life.
When I took on the role of caring for my Dad I did it without hesitation and I can honestly now say that it enriched my life for the better. There were superbly dark days with him and even now I can say I am glad he didn’t live with us at that point but the emotional support, amongst everything else that I provided for him, was second to none and I can say that now with huge pride and I am not boasting. It’s merely a statement of fact.
I did well by him and for him.
So to end this piece I will say that I have considered shutting down my blog page but I have decided that my blogs will remain but I feel it’s time for a change in theme so bear with me readers as you may now get to see what really goes on in that brain of mine and it’s not always good….. so thank you for bearing with me through the good times and the bad.