From the mind of a caretaker, translated…
“Child, let me tell you, that last night, my bedroom was cramped with a ton of people. And, nobody wanted to believe what I was telling them…”, every time I’d gone to see my father, he’d always pulled me, mysteriously, to the corners of his ward, and told me, he’d looked everywhere, and, there’s this fear, this sense of panic, in his gaze; although, I felt uneasy at the moment, I’d still worked hard, to calm him back down, back then, I had yet to understand what dementia was, and didn’t know, that hallucinations were a symptom of dementia.
What caused me to blame myself for so long was, before my father died, he’d forgotten everybody else but me, but, because I was too young, other than watching him suffer, I didn’t do a thing for him.
Many years later, my father-in-law who’d retired from a teaching post, was originally supposed to be enjoying his retirement, playing with the kids, but, dementia had, crept up on him. At first, he’d become forgetful, lost his balance, tripped and fell a lot, then, he had difficulties swallowing, to the very end, he’d needed people to help him, with his daily living routines, this, was defeating, for a man who once had the world at his feet, as he stood on the podium, lecturing away; he’d become a balloon, with the air let out, he wasn’t talkative from before, he’d become even more silent now. My father-in-law also started forgetting his family members one by one, but, he’d always remembered me, his daughter-in-law, and it’d reminded me of my own father, who was tortured by dementia before he died; the difference was, that this time, I’d used my words and actions, to show and tell my father-in-law, “Don’t be afraid, we will keep by your side.”
Dementia is torture for the elder, and, for the caretaker, it’s this sense of helplessness. Seeing how the ones we loved, with the memories, getting away from them by the day, their souls seemed to have been, locked up, in the depth of the oceans, it’s truly, trying, for both the patients and the families.
For me, my father’s dementia had kept me in regret for a very long time, and so, when I took care of my father-in-law, I’d given the efforts, so I won’t have any regrets again. In facing dementia, I’d learned to love, to accompany, and to show care and concerns, to keep us all, connected well together, even IF the world changes. Because of love, we will, NEVER forget.
And so, this woman regretted not being understanding enough toward her own father, and so, she was able to gain that understanding, when her father-in-law became diagnosed too, and, this sort of understanding can only come with experience and aging.