Thursday, October 20, 2011


Honor, a showing of respect. My husband and I moved to Florida for two reasons. One, his Mom was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and we thought she might enjoy getting to know her grandsons, and two, his Pop was living alone and could use someone to live with him. As time went on, it became a blessing for both Mike and Pop. We are grateful for our time with him. My boys had the rare opportunity to spend 8 years with their Great Grandfather. They had an opportunity to learn respect for the elderly. Then, in his final years with us, we all had an opportunity to understand like, no one else, what it is like to live with someone we love who suffers with Dementia/Alzheimer's . Taking care of Pop was my husband's way of honoring his grand father and his mother and teaching his boys to do the same. (You wonder why I call him Mr. Incredible?)

Back on August 5th, we helped Pop move into his new home, a Brookdale Community specifically for people with his condition...Clare Bridge Assisted Living. It is an amazing facility! My husband did his research and it really paid off!

The day we dropped him off was not easy. There were some serious tears. We lived with the latter stages of this disorder for at least 3 years. Some of the symptoms that we all endured were: (aside from always having to be with him, and in the last year, he really needed qualified people to watch him for more than a couple of hours, so we never ever went out as a family for more than that.) being woken up 2-3 times a night every night, restlessness during the day, assisting in eating, toileting and bathing, having to be extremely heightened to germs, (keeping all of our food hidden do to that very reason), waking up the children, wandering out of the house...the list could go on. We do it because we love saying goodbye to him that day, was really hard. How can anyone love him like we do?

It took its toll on my children for sure. Especially this boy right here. My sweet Brendan. He has suffered a great deal. For well over a year the boy could not sleep a whole night through. He would wait so he could hear Pop calling for Mike in case Mike couldn't hear him. On rare occasions, Mike and I would leave the boys and Pop with someone for a couple of hours..just for some alone time, however, Brendan would be the one to talk Pop into sitting down and not wandering outside. Brendan would hear the conversations Mike would have with Pop about not doing certain things because he might burn down the house. Brendan has had to see Pop in situations that no child really ever should see. So, it took its toll on him pretty hard. Brendan began to show signs of depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsiveness.

It really was the right timing. No matter what it was that forced our hand..the timing was God's all along. My husband received a scholarship to go to nursing school so if Pop were not in a home I would have had to care for him myself. I know that God has given me Grace for the moment before and he would have given me grace to get through if that was His will, but with all of my heart, I know that it was not His will. We could endure no more.

This is Pop about a month after moving him in to his new home. That place is amazing! He is so happy, well taken care of and gets to wander to his hearts content. Oh the love runs deep! Our time spent with him is a joy! We are thankful for our relationship. Brendan is healing, slowly but surely, and we as a family are healing as well. We continue to honor Pop and respect his 93 years of life on earth. My boys have a treasure in the memories made with Pop and we have all learned a valuable lesson in Honor.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

What a beautiful tribute to Pop. I understand only a very small amount being in the process of small changes in my mother. It is an honor to call her Mom, and I adore her from the depths of my heart and soul. You ALL were such a blessing to Pop and still continue to be. He looks very happy and I am sure that he is, being able to explore and enjoy his new home. Love you sweet sister!