Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Papa P.

My father passed away the Sunday before Thanksgiving. He had been declining for a while. During that time, I wrote the following post, but was asked by some family members to remove it for privacy during Dad's illness. To the end, he maintained his sense of humor, his love of Mom P. and his love for his family. I miss him every day, but I rejoice in the life he lived, the legacy he gave to all of his posterity, and the knowledge that he is whole and happy and waiting for us to join him.

(Originally written in August 2013)


For the past two weeks, I've been working through how I wanted to write this post. In January, we lost Dad M. after a serious brain injury. Now Papa P. is experiencing his own form of brain injury, only his will be very drawn out and lingering. For the past several months, we've all notice a dramatic decline in Papa P.'s memory, his desire for physical activity, and walking. He has had difficulty remembering some names and relationships, and he started shuffling instead of walking with full strides, like Tim Conway's Old Man character.

After a series of tests with several doctors over the past five months, we now have an official diagnosis: dementia and some Alzheimer's. He has had many infarcts (mini strokes) that are affecting his motor skills. His thyroid is also slowly dying, which has drastically affected his desire and ability to stay active. He is already showing improvement from the thyroid medication, and Mom P. does what she can to gently encourage him to be active, help around the house where he can, and get out to activities or just walking around the mall.

One of the things that our family doctor told us is that the shuffling isn't his fault. It is actually one of the most common side affects, and therefore signs, of dementia. It's part of the loss of motor skills Papa P. is experiencing. We also need to be careful about taking as good of care as Mom P. as we do Papa P. We do not want her to wear herself out and get sick. Her health is paramount in helping Papa P. manage his illness and live a happy and fulfilling life.

I know it will not always be easy, but I also know that this life is not the end. Even though Papa P. may not remember the music he used to play so effortlessly and he may eventually have to be reminded of my name when I talk to him, one day all that he is and all that should be his will be restored to him. I'm grateful for that knowledge.

I love you, Papa.


2 comments:

kutukamus said...

Then it takes about 18 months, I guess.
Sometimes things are just so precious that "it's worth the while" :)

Cybele Moon said...

not sure if my comment showed up in right place before -on Scotland. Had a bit of trouble. Lovely tribute to your Dad! I lost mine and a brother, it's not easy. I too believe I will see them again.

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