Share Your World: 22 May 2023

Growing up, were you closer to your mother or your father, or was it a balance of both depending on the circumstances?

I’ve always felt closer to my dad, and still do… I’m a quiet introvert, like my dad, whereas my mum is one of life’s gregarious extraverts and I suppose we don’t really understand each other 🙂

What was your favourite toy as a child, and do you still have it?

How do you choose one toy across a whole childhood? Um… for outdoors I’d probably say my bike, or rather the constant succession of bikes that changed as I grew older. To us bikes meant freedom. We lived in the countryside so when we went to play with friends it was either by bike or by walking. And because we were all local kids we all generally cycled to and from primary school, as it was very rare to be ferried around by parental car. And for indoors, I’d probably choose Lego for unending imaginative play and its sheer indestructible staying power over the years.

Did you have any secrets?

My biggest secret was feeling not good enough for being such a disappointment to my mum, who has spent my entire life joking to everyone else that she always wanted to have five boys, but Ruth came along first and spoiled it…

What did you want to be when you grew up, and are you anywhere close?

I remember always just saying whatever was expected of me at any given time when asked by anyone what I wanted to be when I grew up, as the usual options to choose from were pretty gender-restricted. So boys generally wanted to be footballers or astronauts and girls wanted to be nurses or ballerinas. But in all honesty I’ve never had any real career aspirations – I suppose all I’ve ever consistently wanted was to be happy, and that still feels like a big mountain to climb, even at 59… Still hoping to get there one day! 🙂

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Defunct

As of yesterday, my parents’ home – my childhood home – is now defunct.

Mum and Dad moved in to that house 50 years ago this summer, the year I turned 10. It’s changed a lot since then – replacement kitchen, additional downstairs shower room, multiple changes of use of internal and external spaces over time – but still, it’s a bit odd to think of neither parent living there any more.

Dad (who turns 87 on Thursday) now lives in a residential care home – he’s had five strokes and has vascular dementia, so has needed proper nursing care for the last 18 months. Thankfully he is somewhere where he is safe and cared for, he seems happy enough and appears to be settled where he is.

Mum (who will be 81 next Sunday) continued to live alone in the rural home she shared with Dad for all those years, but she too has recently been diagnosed with early stage dementia, so has finally agreed to move from there in to a very pleasant Sheltered Housing development in the nearest town, much closer to Dad.

Her new rented home is much smaller – just one bedroom, a bathroom, and an open plan living room and kitchen – so she’s taken with her what she needs and wants (and whatever will fit) and the rest of the old house and contents have to be cleared and sorted and made ready for putting on the market.

So Mum moved in to her new, self-styled ‘old-lady’ place yesterday, and thankfully slept well on her first night in her new bed. Tomorrow my husband and I will be going out to the old house to look for some necessary documentation I need to complete on Mum’s behalf. And then we can start planning ahead for whatever comes next.

It does feel a bit strange to think of the house not being in our family any more, but neither my brother nor I have ever had any wish to live there as adults ourselves. In our late fifties we each have our own lives, our own families, our own homes. That was Mum and dad’s dream home, not ours. And anyway, it has to be sold to pay for Dad’s ongoing care, and Mum’s new life alone.

I have a lifetime of memories wrapped up in that house, some great, some not so good. But it was our family home. It was where I grew up. Realistically it should have been sold years ago, and Mum and Dad should have moved somewhere smaller and more practical and accessible when their health first started failing, probably about a decade ago.

But instead they chose to sit tight in denial and hold on to the bitter end, insisting that they would both manage to live there independently until they died. However now in their 80s neither are fit to be there any longer, they both now live elsewhere and as of yesterday it falls entirely to my brother and I to sort everything out and sell up for them.

Fifty years of the accumulated stuff of life – paperwork, personal possessions, old photographs, family mementos and memories, toys and teddies. Not to mention all the excess furniture and fripperies, including a full set of my maternal grandmother’s wedding china from the late 1930s kept wrapped up and stored in a box ‘for best’. And Dad’s old army suitcase from when he did his National Service in the 1950s.

Of course there will be some things of sentimental value to other family members that will definitely be kept, but much of what is remaining after everything is sorted out will inevitably be donated to charity. It seems a bit heartless, but what else can we do? Dad doesn’t remember any more, and Mum no longer has any room to keep it all.

I have no idea how long it will take us to clear things away enough to put the house on the market, no idea how I will feel at the end of the day when all is said and done. But right now all I can say is I’m dreading it…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Defunct

My Dad and Dementia

Hold your memories close to your heart
For dementia will rip them apart
Tattered shreds haunt your mind
Broken threads hard to find
Shattered images fade, then depart...

I realise I haven’t written about my dad lately… He’s still with us in body if not always in mind, but it gets harder to see the tiny little differences in him every time I visit him in the care home where he now lives permanently. It’s as if he is slowly withdrawing from the world, day by day.

My dad will be 87 next month, but has had vascular dementia since he was 80, so over the last seven years the dad I knew and loved so much has slowly been disintegrating mentally in front of our eyes, piece by piece, memory by memory, which is just heartbreaking to experience.

In the last decade dad has had five strokes, each one leaving him with even more reduced mobility than before, and since the last small stroke just before Christmas last year he no longer has much speech. He whispers a soft ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when asked a direct question but not much else, so it’s difficult to know where he is in his mind any more, because he can’t tell us what he’s thinking or where he’s at, neither in time nor place.

In the past, sometimes dad would know I was his daughter, or at other times he would think I was his sister but as long as I knew where he was in his mind on that day, we could usually have a reasonable conversation regardless. And now I simply sit with him and hold his hand, talk a bit about life a bit, then go home and cry…

One of our neighbours, a sprightly 83 year old man who reminded me a lot of my dad as he used to be, died suddenly a couple of weeks ago. He had one massive stroke one day and was gone, just like that. It’s strange not seeing him around, but it’s made me think a lot about dad and his drastically reduced quality of life, and it hurts to remember that’s always how dad said he wanted to go – at home one minute, living a normal full life as usual, and then just gone…

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week asks simply – How are you? And I realise I am grieving for someone who is still alive, but not really living any more. Grieving for the loss of connection, and the closeness we always had, and the beauty of wholly belonging in someone’s heart without question.

Because now the question is, does dad even know who I am any more? Does he recognise me as his daughter, or does he still think I’m his sister, or is the occasional look of recognition he gives me just a vague familiar feeling that this is someone that I should know?

I still love my dad so very much and always will, but it saddens me so much to see him this way. The physical lack of mobility after the strokes I could cope with, but the mental deterioration of vascular dementia has so cruelly taken my beloved dad away from me, from all of us, and that reality makes me fiercely determined to live life while I can.

So don’t waste any more time procrastinating if there are important things you want to do before you die, because you never know what cruel twist of fate is waiting round the corner for you…

My Beautiful Dad

Today’s daily prompt on WordPress suggests:-

Talk about your father or a father figure in your life

I’ve been thinking such a lot about my 86-year-old dad recently. He’s had vascular dementia for the last six years, playing cruel tricks with his memory so that he doesn’t always know where he is, or when he is, what is reality and what is not, or how to do some of the most basic of things.

After several strokes over time progressively reduced his mobility bit by bit, it became abundantly clear to all of us that even with all the social care support packages available mum could no longer care for him at home. Eventually after a bad fall a year ago resulting in a prolonged stay in hospital, dad now lives in a nursing home. It’s not a perfect situation for any of us, but we are where we are and it is what it is.

Luckily for us dad usually (but sadly not always) knows who we are, or at least recognises us as family members at some level – he frequently thought I was his favourite sister rather than his daughter, but we still manged to have some great ghostly conversations set in the distant past and in many different places which he clearly enjoyed. To me it was still a valued connection between us.

He would regularly ask me how ‘the old folks’ were and had I seen them recently, meaning his parents (my grandparents) who have been dead for decades, so I would prevaricate a bit, then simply say as honestly as I could that I hadn’t seen them for a while but as far as I knew everyone in the family was well, which always seemed to reassure him well enough. I treasure those conversations and the familiar closeness they brought.

Lately dad’s speech wasn’t always that clear – sometimes he might slur a bit, or forget what he was saying, or shift slowly to another decade and the words would just fade away – but he could still speak, I could hear his voice and I could remember, smiling inwardly at his dad-like choice of words or his dry humour turn of phrase, and I would think – yes, my beautiful dad is still in there somewhere…

But now dad has had another small stroke, and although he has recovered a lot, sadly his speech has not returned this time. In fact, he’s not uttered one single, solitary word since. He smiles and he nods, still looking confused at times, but there are no words. And for me, for the reality that somewhere down the line without knowing it I have had my last ‘proper’ conversation I will ever have with my much-loved dad, for me too there are no words…

Love you, dad, to the end of time, and I wish you could know just how much I miss hearing your lovely voice… ❤

Dementia 1: Dad 0

By the law of averages, my dad should probably not still be around. It’s not just a matter of his age – he’s now 86 – but of his slowly disintegrating health. Dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia when he was 80, after a couple of devastating strokes left him with debilitating mobility issues and a forgetfulness that was clearly going beyond just forgetfulness.

Since that time he’s had another couple of strokes, each one just a little worse than the last. Each time both his mobility and his memory have decreased further to the point where, after a bad fall at home and a serious knock to the head a year ago resulting in a prolonged stay in hospital, dad was finally discharged not back home to mum, herself finding life more difficult as she too gets older, but to a nursing home where he now lives with much-needed 24hr care.

It’s been so hard watching dad’s memories of who he is being erased over time. To begin with there were distinct periods where dad would seem fine, and then periods where he was clearly confused. Confused about time and place and people and reality and memory. And over the years those periods of lucidity became less and less frequent. Dad became less and less certain of where he was or who he was with. He began to live more and more in the past, present in body but not in spirit, out of reach to us much of the time, lost in an inner world of his own that only he could experience.

But sadly since his bad fall last year, since the long isolated stay in hospital where he caught and fought Covid along with everyone else on the ward, dad’s growing dementia deterioration appears decidedly more marked. He can no longer walk at all, and seems to have lost the last of that small precious spark of triumphant defiance that still remained. It’s as if the dementia has won, as if the shutters have truly come down for good this time, and I feel the loss keenly.

Dad no longer comes out with the little quips and humourous comments and groan-inducing bad-dad-jokes that were such a recognisable part of his character. We no longer seem to have access to that shared familial experience, the secret short-cut code that is the DNA of everyday life. It sometimes seems dad is more comfortable with the company of the staff and residents than with his family when we visit. I’m pleased that he appears so contented, genuinely I am, but at the same time it hurts like hell…

This is not the life dad had imagined for himself, not the old age he (or we) had envisaged. But clearly it is his reality – and it is our reality too. Dad is still with us in body but not in spirit, and I honestly miss him more than I can possibly say…

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Law

Word of the Day: Erase

Being There…

Today’s one hour visiting slot at the hospital was taken up by me sitting quietly, watching my 85-year-old dad sleep.

Dad’s usually up and dressed and sitting in the chair next to his bed, but apparently he was feeling really tired this morning so after his breakfast, instead of getting him washed and dressed as usual the nursing staff let him go back to sleep. And sleep he did… in fact he slept, and he slept, and for the full hour I was with him (between 11am and 12pm) he didn’t wake once. Not when I carefully placed a metal-legged hard plastic chair next to his bed and sat down, not when a friendly nurse spoke to me and we discussed how surprisingly deeply dad was asleep today rather than his usual on-and-off dozing (resting his eyes, he used to call it). Dad didn’t even stir when the domestic assistant inadvertently knocked his bed while mopping the floor underneath, or again when dusting the top of the curtain rails around his bed.

So rather than disturb dad’s rest I just sat with him, next to his bed, and watched him sleep. I watched his ageing face, eyes tight shut, not a flicker of movement to suggest he might be about to wake. I watched his lower jaw lying slack within his weathered skin, his top denture sitting too loose in his slightly open mouth as he gave a soft snore every now and again. I watched his chest and stomach rise and fall gently and rhythmically with every inhale and exhale, so peaceful in his repose. I leaned over and held his hand for a while, and although he didn’t stir from his slumber dad’s fingers intuitively folded around mine too. I felt such a surge of protection towards him, this vulnerable old man with dementia and minimal mobility. Because underneath this confused old man exterior, he’s still my lovely, loving dad.

So for a full hour I just sat in a hospital ward and watched my dad sleep, watched him with the same loving scrutiny as when I watched my children and grandchildren sleep when they were babies. He may not have known I was there, but I knew, and the precious time we spend together with dad asleep matters just as much to me as when he is wide awake… ❤

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Watched

A Place Full of Strangers

I haven’t written about visiting my 85-year-old dad for a while because sadly, due to Covid restrictions coming into force at the hospital for three weeks, I simply wasn’t allowed to visit for the duration.

We kept in touch with the ward by phone, so we knew he was doing fine… but still, it was a difficult time not to be able to see dad in person. He has vascular dementia and doesn’t remember about the Covid pandemic, or understand why ordinarily he is only allowed two designated visitors never mind none at all for weeks on end.

So as soon as hospital visiting recommenced at the end of last week I booked a slot to see dad again, and it was such a relief on that first visit to find that we simply picked up pretty much exactly where we had left off – he seemed to have no recollection of the fact that we hadn’t seen him for a few weeks, he was settled and chatty and he looked well.

I noticed that dad has had his hair cut since I saw him last, and with a puzzled look he brushed his hand over his head and said in surprise – oh yes, so I have! So I asked him who had cut his hair, but all he could offer (with a wry smile) was – I’m buggered if I know!

But as soon as I saw dad this morning I realised he was having a ‘lost’ day – where he finds himself neither easily in the here-and-now, nor happily living in the past, but stuck somewhere in between. He said hello and gave a brief smile as I hugged him and sat down, but he kept looking around, distracted and agitated, seemingly trying to pick up visual and aural clues to work out where he was.

I asked him if he was OK, and with sad eyes he said he was in a place full of strangers where he didn’t recognise anyone… A friendly nurse came in and spoke to him by name, and he was surprised that she knew him – he was so sure he didn’t know her. Poor dad, he was so aware that everyone else seemed to know with confidence where they were, so he concluded he must be the one who is confused.

While I was visiting we called mum at home with my mobile phone, and then afterwards my brother called us with the on-screen video function so both he and dad were able to see each other in real time, but dad really struggled to keep his attention on the screen with so many distractions in the background and soon handed the phone back to me, disappointed he was unable to follow the conversation.

I reassured him that it was still good to be able to see my brother via the phone, and dad agreed but wondered why he hadn’t spoken to his mum and dad for a while – he hoped they were still doing fine? I smiled and quietly admitted I didn’t know – what’s the point of reminding him his parents have been dead for a good 30 years…

Dad often lives in this nightmare psychological no-man’s-land these days, alone and lost in a mental landscape ravaged by dementia, increasingly burdened by his inability to make sense of his surroundings. He tries so hard to make his brain work the way he wants it to. He thinks and he thinks and he thinks; puts in so much effort to try to understand it all but somehow nothing makes sense any more.

It hurts us to see him hurting and struggling so much, but with the best will in the world there’s nothing any of us can do to ease that burden for him. There’s no easy-to-read how-to handbook to help with all of this, no instruction manual for coping with the disintegration of mental capacity caused by dementia. All we can do is be there for him and guide him and continue to love him for a long as we can…  

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Handbook  

Limbo…

For the past five years my elderly dad, dealing desperately with the ongoing difficulties of vascular dementia, has experienced an ever-moving mix of three potential states of being – fully aware of existing in the here and now along with the rest of us, stuck happily in some time-warp parallel universe where for him the past is strangely superimposed onto the present, or suspended scarily in an unfathomable limbo…

When dad was first diagnosed with dementia, of course he was mainly present in the present but with the odd random serious lapse of memory that was certainly more than one step beyond common-or-garden forgetfulness. The first real sign of dad’s depth of confusion came a few days after he returned from his brother-in law’s funeral. Dad was chatting to us about people he’d seen there who he hadn’t seen for ages when he suddenly said – I think I’ll give Ian a call to see how he’s doing. We couldn’t get dad to understand that it had been Ian’s funeral he’d been at to see all those people from his past in the first place…

And then dad started doing the occasional odd thing in place of the everyday thing he’d been doing for years. Like when making a cup of tea, dad would have the cup sitting on the counter upside down but not understand why he couldn’t put anything in the cup. Or worse, he melted the plastic bottom of three electric kettles before we finally stopped him trying to do things in the kitchen. On two occasions dad had filled the kettle then sat it on the hob to boil – the acrid smell of melting plastic had brought my mum running. And on the third occasion dad filled the kettle, balanced it on top of the toaster, and switched the toaster on.

Dad’s dementia is the vascular type, brought on by several small strokes, so as well as cognitive difficulties dad also has worsening mobility issues. In the past he has forgotten how to walk when half way across a room, standing precariously, leaning on two walking sticks and unable to move further because he doesn’t know what to do next. He has forgotten where he was in the process of walking to the bathroom, confused and bewildered and agitated because he needed to go to the loo but couldn’t find his way through the family home he’d lived in for 40-odd years. And we soon found that when dad was in a more lucid frame of mind again, he consistently forgot that he had been unable to do these things. When he was lucid he wouldn’t believe that he’d been so incapacitated, in his mind he was still fine which was so frustrating for him.

It was almost more difficult in the early days when dad was far more aware of his surroundings and what was going on in his brain. In a sense it has become easier as the dementia progresses and dad is spending less and less time in the here and now. We get the occasional glimpse of grounded reality but on the whole these days much of dad’s day is spent reliving random memories of his past in real time, often including people and places long gone. Knowing his family history we can join him there, and have perfectly enjoyable conversations that leave dad feeling visibly content. The other day dad was convinced I was his sister Edith, not his daughter Ruth, so we were chatting happily about going to visit an uncle and aunt along the coast. Everyone dad mentioned has been dead for years but his memories are so real they carry him through.

At other times, though, dad seems to lose his visual and experiential link to the past, but at the same time cannot quite reconnect fully with the present. These are the days where dad just looks lost within himself. He’s neither here nor there, stuck in limbo, and you can see the confusion in his eyes, traced on his furrowed brow. His speech loses its clarity, slurring a little, and often the wrong words come out so communication loses its vibrancy and leaves dad feeling even more lost. He says sometimes he hears my voice and knows I am talking to him but cannot quite understand what I’m saying, everything just sounds jumbled in his head. He looks intently into my eyes trying to make sense of everything but then soon he looks away, despondent.

It’s a horrible situation for him to be in but in spite of all of this, on the whole I find dad is still very much dad. Somehow deep down he has retained some of his dry sense of humour, which always fills me with such an overwhelming feeling of warmth and love. I asked him the other day how he had slept the night before, and he said with the merest hint of a wry smile – With my eyes shut! Oh, how many times over my lifetime I’ve heard that same response, and how wonderful to hear it now. I’m not in denial, I do know that dad’s mind is slowly disintegrating, but personally I prefer to focus on what we can still share together rather than on what has been lost between us.

Dementia really focuses me on the importance of spending whatever time I can with dad, while he’s still with us, while he still knows us. So I visit him, and sit with him, and chat with him. I hold his hand, and hug him and let him feel the familial security of the father-daughter bond that has always been so strong between us. We are where we are in life, but he’s still my dad and I love him as much today as I always have done… ❤

Holding On…

When I walked into the hospital ward this afternoon to visit my 85-year-old dad, he looked astonished. ‘How did you know where to find me?’, he asked, before frowning and adding a little forlornly – ‘I’m just baffled, I don’t know where I am…’

Dad has been in hospital for almost four weeks now, and sadly does not seem to be getting any better. If anything, he seems to be deteriorating visibly. His level of confusion gusts and lulls with the wind but his mobility is consistently a lot worse and to cap it all he’s now not eating and drinking properly. This is in spite the best endeavours of all the wonderful staff at the hospital who try so hard to coax him and cajole him to eat and drink and stand up and walk. But dad is having none of it, so today he was put on a saline drip to bring his fluid levels up.

Dad has vascular dementia, the result of several past strokes, and was admitted to hospital at the end of October after a bad fall at home resulting in a bash on the head, which has now healed beautifully. With the help of home carers coming in four times a day and additional weekly respite, my 79-year-old mum has been caring for dad at home over the last five years but it is clear to all of us (except dad) that this arrangement simply cannot continue any longer. Dad needs proper 24-hour nursing care now, and so we are working behind the scenes with dad’s Social Work team to find an appropriate Care Home for him.

And in the meantime dad has better days and worse days, sometimes knowing where he is and others not, sometimes chatty (though confused) and sometimes all too quiet and uncommunicative. When I visited dad this afternoon my mum had already been in earlier in the day, so I knew dad had been up sitting in his chair when she first arrived but was sound asleep safely tucked up in bed when she left. So I asked him – Have you had a wee sleep today? And he answered quite animatedly ‘No I haven’t had the time, I’ve been too busy trying to get my brain to work!’. Poor dad…

And so I continue to visit him for my allotted hour as often as I can, and just be with him. Sometimes he looks sad, or fed-up, or puzzled, or tired, but I just let him be in whatever frame of mind he is in, and sit with it. I sit with him as he sleeps, or talks about things that confuse him, or most recently as he just looks at me, holding his gaze for ages. I too keep eye contact and see him looking deep into my eyes for answers to unasked questions he can’t even begin to fathom, and I know I can’t help him find what he’s looking for.

But I can be there with him and for him and hold his hand and hopefully let my being there bring him some little comfort to his lost word, however momentary. Because I am still his daughter, his first-born, and he is still my lovely dad. Thankfully for now he still knows me and I will always know him. Within me I carry his genes and have inherited his high cheek bones and blue eyes, and amongst other traits his quiet nature, his love of the outdoors, his brick-wall stubbornness and dry sense of humour.

So I sit with him and I treasure every moment because I know I am so lucky still to have him here. He is still very much part of the fabric of my life, however unravelled and frayed and worn his memory threads may be these days. Right now I feel as protective of my dad as I do of my children, as if in his vulnerability I love him even more than I did before. Dementia brings such an urgency to love, a need to make the most of what you have while you have it because you never know when, in the blink of a vacant eye, it will suddenly be gone.

I do realise that one day dad will no longer know me, no longer know any of his family, but until that day comes I’m holding on with all my heart to letting him know quietly and constantly how much he means to us. It’s not much but in the circumstances it’s all I can do, and so I try to do it with as much patience and understanding and comfort and love as I can… ❤

A Lost Cause

Where have you been?‘ asked dad when I saw him yesterday…

My 85-year-old dad has been in hospital for the last two weeks, after a fall at home and a bang on the head. Dad has poor mobility due to four strokes over the space of several years, and has vascular dementia. I’ve gone up to the hospital to see him most days, but sadly he doesn’t always remember things. Like where he is or how long he’s been there, or what time it is, or what day, or what year, or what decade for that matter. Or in particular when anyone last visited him.

There are still restrictions and limitations on hospital visiting due to Covid, so there’s nothing straightforward about booking a fixed appointment slot in the ward to ensure that only one visitor per room is in attendance at any one time – and as dad is in a six-bedded room, that means sharing all available individual slots with a potential five other visitors on a first come, first served basis. Additionally, each patient is only allowed two designated visitors for the entirety of their stay – so for my dad, that’s my mum and me.

But of course dad doesn’t really comprehend the intricacies of any of this – not long-term Covid restrictions, not his being in hospital, not his dementia, not why things have to be the way they are for him right now. Dad doesn’t always remember when I visit – I mean, he knows at the time I’m there, but generally he doesn’t retain that information even to the next day. It’s the same when mum is there with him, he doesn’t always remember when she visits, either. Inevitably that hurts, makes it all so much harder to cope with.

I try to remain positive but to be perfectly honest I’m growing weary of constantly juggling work and buses and visiting slots, and I feel guilty that I’m finding it all so stressful. I mean, he’s my dad, and I do want to see him as regularly as I can to make sure he’s OK, but yet… Some days I go up and dad gives me a big smile when he sees me, and that makes it all worthwhile. He is usually happy in the moment, and for dad, the moment is often all he has. But on days like yesterday it feels like a lost cause…

For whatever reason, dad was not in a good place yesterday. Quiet, uncommunicative, not partaking in anything much when it comes to social interaction but easily distracted by watching the comings and goings of staff in the ward. ‘Where have you been?‘ is pretty much all I got from him yesterday, accusatory, as if I was failing him somehow. And perhaps I am. So I just sat patiently with him for my allotted hour, simply keeping him company, trying to engage him in conversation but mostly passing the time in silence, and then I got ready to leave.

Where are you going?‘ asked dad as I stood up, and I told him I had to go home now, because my visiting time was up but I’d be back again tomorrow… I gave him a hug as usual and as I turned back to wave at him I saw the confusion in his eyes, the puzzlement, the struggle for him to make sense of it all… So I sat on the bus going home with tears in my eyes, knowing there is no easy answer to any of this, there is no quick fix, no positive prognosis to look forward to… No real hope of salvation.

Dad has vascular dementia, and the harsh reality is he will have good days and bad days but there can be no getting better, only a slow downwards progression towards… what? Who knows… ❤ 😦