Alzheimer’s Disease: A Bad Memory.

Dear Dad,

I miss your lovely eccentricities, your gentle insights, your sense of humour, the ditties you could think up at the drop of a hat which fitted any given situation which were filled with warmth and humour, the energy you threw into your family, hobbies and your work.

The fact that we never had a proper Father/Son relationship when I was an adult will always be a sorrow in my life. It was only when I reached my thirties that I was ready to get closer to you and, well, this brings me on to some of the things I don’t miss.

I don’t miss the distance I felt when you showed such a lack of interest in me that you couldn’t remember where I worked.  I don’t miss the phone call I took when Mum told me you had a stroke and couldn’t remember anything. I don’t miss when you recovered a lot of your memory but we discovered you were suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

I really don’t miss the following years as your behaviour became more erratic. Your memories fractured and your personality bled away.

Neither do I miss when you worried about important or irrelevant matters with the same intensity, when you forgot how to use the simplest things, when you lost your temper or asked for your own long dead Da.

Then there were the things I had forced myself find funny at the time which I cannot bear to think about now.

I’m sorry I didn’t visit you more when you went into the Nursing Home, there are only so many one sided conversations I could manage. I told you all my secrets, bared my soul to the point that I thought that if a miracle occurred and you got better that you would have me over a barrel. But it would have been ok.

But no miracle arrived and you shrunk away and took the Alzheimer’s with you to the grave. It was a grossly insulting end your gentle, funny and creative life.

It was only after you died that a mist began to clear and once again the people who loved and knew you began to remember the kind, loving father, friend and colleague you had been in your prime. This was evident by the lovely stories I heard from the many people who gathered for your funeral.

Then there are people who never knew you who continue to live, learn, teach, work, and worship in the buildings you designed. Your sketches, framed plans and sculptures sit proudly in houses across Ireland and The United States.

I just needed to tell you how much you were adored by your family and admired by the people whose lives you touched whether they know it or not.

Love

Ben

Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland

P.S. My Dad would have preferred me to leave you on a more cheerful note so I urge you to visit this page straight away to see one of the entertaining Granddaughters my Dad has produced.

Follow @Beanmimo

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21 responses to “Alzheimer’s Disease: A Bad Memory.

  1. Sad but beautiful. I’m sure he knew how much he was loved somewhere in the recess of his diseased brain and I’m sure, wherever he is, he read this with a smile on his face and pride in his heart

  2. Ben, beautifully written and well said. Brought lots of tears to my eyes, and made me smile. xxx

  3. Ben, thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry for your loss, but am thankful that you were able to piece together who he was with what you had come to know.

  4. Antoinette Victory

    Xo

  5. It’s cathartic to express these emotions about those dear to us. How beautiful. Well done you, for both writing and publishing 🙂

  6. Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

    Ben, that must have been so hard to write, but it’s beautiful and loving. Thanks
    Sarah xx

  7. Hi Ben, Lovely words. I lost my dad around 6 months ago and much of what you wrote resonates with me too; things never said, regretful anger / impatience, but the good memories far outweigh all that. Simon

  8. That is one of the most beautiful, heart felt pieces I have ever read .

  9. Hi Ben,
    Was reluctant to read your post but I guess curiosity got the better of me. Your words expressed wonderfully your pain and anger at such a cruel disease. My heart sank when you talked about “forcing” yourself to find some things “funny” that you find hard to think of now. My Mum has Alzheimer’s and its where I’m at with her now. Finding myself sitting beside her wanting to have a good natter but am left with nothing to say instead. Well written Ben, your Dad would be very proud of your wonderful words. Take care.

  10. Lovely bit of writing Ben.

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