March 8, 2015
My Dad has vascular dementia. Apparently he had a bunch of mini strokes that we never knew about until it showed up this way.
He looks like my Dad. His voice is the same. But my Dad is missing.
To a stranger it may not be noticeable. He can still chime in on a conversation and make sense. But many times, he doesn't make sense.
A recent incident involved him throwing away my Mom's calender. For a second time. He did it once, she had to go through and figure out all the appointments and dates again and add them to a new calender. So when he threw that one out, too, it was more than a bit frustrating. "Why did you DO that?" she asked. "Because you didn't put my stuff on there anyway." I mean, it makes no sense. He just told my Mom that he can't wait for his new phone to get activated so he can get more eye drops. Sometimes we just have to laugh.
Sometimes he makes us laugh on purpose! He likes me to take his picture and "put it on your internet!"
He always did have a great sense of humor!
But sometimes it's hard to laugh. When he tells me for the 539th time that he got new glasses, it just makes me sad. It's not annoying, it's just that he wasn't like that before a few years ago. He was a man of few words. He thought about things before he said them. He just didn't do this before. So it's a constant reminder that his brain is not the same.
He was over last week with my Mom to meet Lea's bus after school. In a matter of minutes, he opened my package that contained my essential oils I had just ordered. In fact, because this specific oil had been out of stock for so long, the ordering was weird, and I had to stay up until 1 am to get these suckers. He opened my box, took 2 of the 4 bottles. Then he went upstairs to our bathroom where I keep my large stash of oils on a rack. He took 4 large bottles of my precious oils, including one that was brand new and cost $75. The total for everything was about $300. If you know me at all, you KNOW how I feel about my oils. We still have not found any of them. He went in my closet (again, not something the REAL Doug would have done) so maybe I will still find them in a pocket or a shoe.
As I laid in bed a few nights after this, feeling so angry about my missing oils, I realized it's not the oils that I am so upset about being gone. It's my Dad. His personality. This is also just a reminder that he is not there anymore.
I am not saying that losing someone to death is easy. I have been through a lot of that as well. What I am saying is that my Dad, my actual DAD, has already passed away. And yet there is this person who looks like him, sounds like him that we have to deal with and take care of. This guy often says mean things, though. Mostly to my Mom. When I hear this stuff he says, it's like a knife in the heart. He always was a truth giver. A speak the truth in love kind of guy. But some of the things he says now are not true, not said in love.
He was my go-to guy for spiritual advice. Any questions about the Bible or Jesus, my Dad was the man. Now I don't know what he knows or thinks about Jesus. To be honest, I am scared to ask, in case that is missing, too. It was always something I admired about him.
There are some feel-good moments, too! It's not all bad. Yesterday, Brad and I were taking him to Target to get some new phones set up to save them some money. He was putting on his coat and got choked up. I mean, literally. He was choking on tears. He said "I'm gonna cry!" I said "Why?" He said "I just love you so much!"
OK. This is new. But a good new! I always knew he loved me. But he says it now a lot! And cries about it. And appreciates us and tells us so! He still knows I am his daughter. This disease is not curable or reversible. So I know he won't always know me. Once the nastiness and "borrowing" things is gone, this may be gone, too. So I will try to laugh about my missing oils. I will just buy more. I will take every hug and kiss he wants to give me, which is a lot.
Because it won't be long until that is missing, too.