Posts Tagged ‘Fathers’

It’s been a sad day today, as we said a final farewell to be Dad, Edwin (Eddie) Robert Johnson (25/04/1927 – 21/02/2013).

Dad at our wedding

My intention had been to write a tribute to my Dad today, but I’m afraid it’s just too soon for me to be able to write anything that would do my Dad justice, so I’ll save my thoughts for another day once Mum, Sandy and me get back to some kind of normality.

So today, I simply want to express my gratitude to everyone who has offered support and love to us during these difficult days either by phoned, in person or have sent us cards. You will never now how much your support has meant to us all.

To those of you who have helped us get everything sorted out for the funeral today and helped with the funeral itself, a huge thank you.

To the many of you who shared with us today at the crematorium and then afterwards at the hotel, thank you for taking the time to support us on this most difficult of days, again it was very much appreciated by us. I’m sure my Dad would have been embarrassed by all that has been said about him today and also by the number of you who attended his funeral, but as far as I’m concerned, it simply shows the huge impact and influence my Dad had on so many lives.

I miss you Dad, but I will never ever forget you.

Rest in peace Dad xxx

Just for you Dad, one of your favourite jazz musicians, Tommy Dorsey, playing I’m Getting Sentimental Over You:

Why is it when you try to help some people you just get your head bitten off and they go all defensive about what they’re saying it what they are trying to do?

As you’ll be aware if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, my Dad suffers from dementia and so I’ve been doing my best to support and help my Mum as much as possible, particularly over the last 12 weeks or so while Dad was in hospital. I’ve been trying my best but much of the time it has felt like my best just isn’t good enough, as no matter how much I’ve tried to help and support my Mum, she’s made me feel at time like I’m not helping, or that I’m saying things that aren’t helpful, and so she gets annoyed me with.

I know Mum doesn’t mean it to come across like this, as I know she does appreciate my help and support, it’s simply that she’s finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that Dad will never be home again, and after more than 55 years of marriage that must be so hard for Mum to cope with. So I guess it’s simply been that me saying things as they really are is hard for mum to hear as she’s still finding it difficult to accept how things are with dad these days.

No matter what people say or do sometime when you try to help them, don’t ever stop trying to help them, as often those in most need are those who “push” those trying to help them away.

Stay strong and continue to reach out to those in need.

I’ve been finding things quite difficult in the last while, supporting Mum as she cared for Dad at home, and supporting hubby. It’s felt at times as if no-one has been there to support me as I continue to struggle both physically and emotionally.

As you’ll know if you read my blog post yesterday (Even The Simple Things Are Forgotten) my Dad was taken into hospital on Wednesday suffering from dehydration as he wouldn’t eat or drink anything. Having spent hours in the hospital on Wednesday with Dad waiting for him to be admitted and then transferred to a ward, I was physically exhausted and due to the stress and supporting Mum, emotionally exhausted too. Since then we’ve visited Dad each day in hospital and that in itself is tough as he is just lying in bed with his eyes shut unable or unwilling to do more than respond occasionally to things we say to him…he looks so frail and helpless.

The other week I was chatting to a friend and we were talking about all the things that are going on in my life at present, and they asked me how I able to keep going. My honest answer to that question was, “not very easily“! Yes, while I’m in public I do my best to be strong and look completely in control, but underneath I’m struggling to keep it together and be strong for everyone around me. It would be a little easier if I was at least feeling pain-free all the time, but having to deal with all the things going on with various members of my family, and support them, as well as coping with severe pain levels at times is incredibly tough.

As far as how I cope with the situation with Dad, I think my automatic coping mechanism of seeing the funny side of everything definitely kicks in. Dad’s dementia means he has often said and done things which are quite funny on one hand, but when I think about the person he used to be, are incredibly sad and heartbreaking. Whenever anyone asks about Dad I find myself almost smiling and joking about it all the time, simply because it’s how I keep myself together and don’t fall apart. So if you’ve spoken to me and thought I seemed to make light of Dad’s situation please realise it’s just the way I cope with it, as I am deeply upset and saddened by what has happened to him, and I certainly do not find it funny in any way.

So my assessment of how I’m coping with life at present is I’m Getting By.

I pray every day that God will continue to give me the strength and the words to continue to support and help Mum and hubby. It sometimes has felt as though I’m on my own in this, but my faith keep reminding me that I’m never alone, because no matter what I’m facing, God is with me, supporting me.

I pray that if you are simply “getting by” in life too, you will always remember that God is with you through it all.

I recently read a the following tweet on Twitter:

Have you ever had a memory that sneaks out your eye and rolls down your cheek

Isn’t that so true even of happy memories never mind the sad ones!

Even as I read that tweet the first time, I felt myself smiling and some pleasant memories coming back into my mind – some of them brought a tear to my eye as some of those memories involved my Dad and life as it used to be with him – as many of you will know my Dad suffers from dementia so life with him is so different now.

It also got me thinking about some friendships which for one reason or another have fallen by the wayside, but at the time had a huge impact on my life for the good.

Just because a memory results in a wee tear sneaking out and down your cheek, doesn’t make it wrong to remember. We just need to be wary of relying too much on our memories, as life is about living today and trying to make a better tomorrow.

The last couple of days I’ve spoken about patience, and the fact that we all need patience particularly during the tough times of life (see Be Patient and In Need of Patience).

As many of you will know, my Dad has vascular dementia and over the last year and a half his condition has greatly deteriorated, so much so that it is becoming increasingly difficult for my Mum to care for Dad at home 24/7.

Mum regularly tells me she prays for patience with Dad, as I know she finds it very warring constantly being asked the same questions over and over again, and having to explain the same things countless time to Dad, without him understanding or comprehending what’s he’s being told.

I find it difficult finding the patience even during the times I’m with Mum and Dad, and that is certainly not 24/7. I feel guilty and annoyed at myself for being impatient when I’m with them, and thus I like Mum, find myself praying for patience frequently.

I know how warring it can be living with someone who is ill, both because of Dad, and because of the health problems both my husband and me have had over the last few years. I know I can often be difficult to live with as I can be impatient with others for no reason other than because I’m really not feeling well. But I’m not alone in this, I think many of us when we face health problems (particularly when they go on for some time without any clear diagnosis), can become irritable and testy when we don’t feel well.

For these times my friends, I apologise, but please don’t write me off, just embrace me and offer your support, as that, along with your support in prayer, is what I’m most in need of.

It’s often said that we always have our memories even after the occasion or event has finished or the people involved have left us. However I’ve come to realise more and more in the last few weeks that this really isn’t true for all of us.

Confused?

I’m thinking about dementia and Alzheimer sufferers.

As many of you will know my Dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia a number of months ago, plus one of my aunt’s who suffers from Alzheimer’s, now lives in a care house. Initially my Dad just had trouble remembering people names and some events from a while ago, however over the last few months Mum, hubby, Dad’s doctor and me have already noticed a huge deterioration in my Dad.

To be honest Mum has told me all the things Dad’s been doing or not doing because of his condition, however because I’ve spent a lot more time with them in the last few weeks while I’ve been off work, I’ve realised jut how bad he is. Take a couple of days ago for example, we were going out to get some shopping and stop for a coffee while we were out, however before we went out, I had to help Dad zip up his jacket as he didn’t know how to fasten it anymore – That really upset me.

A few days ago, Mum got in the morning to find dad wasn’t in bed…she found him downstairs in the living room, looking out the window…he was watching for Mum coming home. Dad thought it was the middle of the day and Mum was out somewhere!

Mum’s having to do just about everything for Dad these days and we’re having to explain everything over and over again to him as after letting him something he still doesn’t remember. It’s getting to a stage now that Mum’s getting more and more reluctant to leave Dad on his own in the house while she’s out, as she’s frightened he’ll feel dizzy and have an accident when she’s not around.

So where am I going with this? Well all I wanted to say is, don’t take your memory and/or your friends/family for granted, as you never know how quickly you may lose the ability to remember your past or even your friends/family.

Life is precious, so make the most of every minute you have, especially those you spend with your friends and family.

Today I spent this afternoon with my Mum and Dad – Firstly taking Mum to an appointment at the health centre, and then onto the supermarket where we had a coffee (and a bit cake) and then it was shopping time.

Dad came with us as Mum reckoned “he needed some fresh air”, though I think Dad could have done with going home after we had our coffee as he seemed to be really struggling by then.

Anyway, the purpose of my post today was to tell you how difficult it is living with dementia – As some of you will know, my Dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia. We’ve all noticed a huge difference in him since the start of this year…he’s become more and more confused and disoriented, remembers very little and recognised/knows very few people (Mum, hubby and me being about the only people he knows). Even when we went to our local health centre, Dad had no idea where we were or why we where there. While Dad and I waited for Mum, Dad asked me several times where Mum was and why we were there.

Then when we went to the supermarket, Dad was confused about why we were there. Then when we went to have a coffee, Dad having agreed to have coffee and share a bit cake with my Mum, announced he didn’t want any cake. i.e. He was adamant he’d never said he wanted any cake!

Every time I spent a few hours with Dad I must admit I find it hard going, getting the same questions over and over again, and Dad telling me the same things again and again. I find it very wearing, even for that short time, so I can’t imagine how Mum copes with it 24/7 – No wonder she’s struggling!

To those who look after loved ons who suffer from dementia, I would just like to say what a difficult and stressful job you have – Looking after someone who has turned into a completely different person over the space of a few months/years often means they do not even know or understand what’s going on around them anymore.

I do think that unless you know of someone affected by dementia, most people will not fully understand what difficulties it poses both for the sufferer and their loved ones.

If nothing else today, please take a few minutes to read more about dementia, its causes and also please pray for those suffering from dementia as well as those who care from them. Thank you.

Yesterday was my Mum’s birthday and it was one that was full of different emotions for both Mum and me.

Firstly, I know Mum didn’t want her birthday as she has become more and more aware over the last while that both her and other members of our family are getting ever older, and with that often comes increasing health problems and health concerns.

Mum and Dad went into Glasgow with the intention of having a nice lunch out, but not only did my Dad not feel too good so didn’t want anything to eat, my Mum didn’t manage to get what she wanted for lunch and what she got was cold by the time she ate it! So as you can see Mum’s birthday plans didn’t go as expected.

Not only did Mum’s lunch plans not go as expected, but both my Dad and also my Mum’s sister, both forgot my Mum’s birthday. As some of you will know both my Dad and my aunt have dementia so to be honest it was no great surprise neither of them remembered Mum’s birthday. However, this being the first birthday both of them have forgotten, it must have been so very tough on Mum – I know it certainly made me feel quite low and very emotional.

On a positive note to finish, I think Mum loved the birthday presents we gave her – I think they gave her a wee boost knowing not everyone had forgotten her birthday.

I can’t imagine how Mum must have felt knowing some of those closest to her had forgotten her birthday, but I hope and pray, despite it all, that hubby and me can continue to bring a little bit of brightness and happiness into Mum’s life during what are difficult times.

Things have been very difficult for all my family (including me) over the last while for a variety of reasons, so I’d appreciate it if you’d keep us in your prayers – Thank you