Bittersweet

16 12 2006

j0395964 (2)

Life is filled to the brim with bittersweet moments that make you want to smile while dancing around the room, and curl up into a ball and cry.  When the phone rang and I heard my dad on the other end of the line, it was one of those moments.  

I honestly cant remember the last time Id talked to him for even a moment where I knew he was connecting with me.  I still see him about once a week, but the strong, sociable, hardworking man — who once was my dad — has slowly been slipping way, out of reach, for years, and a strange, confused, paranoid man who resembles a small child — has been left in his place.  No tearful goodbyes, no forwarding address; he’s just gone.  It’s as if my dad died several years ago and somehow I wasn’t informed.  

When I answered the phone, I was surprised to hear, not the voice of a confused man in need, but the cheerful voice of my dad.  

Our conversation lasted for five minutes, and never went any deeper than the whether, but for a brief moment, I could hear him again.  But then, in the blink of an eye, he was fading away again; he was slipping back into a black hole somewhere, out of my reach.  I wanted to call out, “Please, don’t go!  I miss you.”  But he was gone, and the confused stranger had taken his place.         

 Months will pass without me seeing the real him, and then for a fraction of a second he?s there again, which only makes it harder, because it reminds me again just how much I miss him.   

Sometimes, I feel like I?m being teased, or tormented with these “dad sightings.”  Of course, I love hearing his voice for even a second, but it’s also a chilling reminder I can’t turn the clock back, that he’s truly gone for good and there’s no getting him back again, not even to say goodbye.

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9 responses

16 12 2006
Bill

Kelsey, my heart goes out to you. I really don’t know what to say other than it is so sad. A disease affecting the brain can leave nothing but a shell as you put it.
The important thing for you to remember is that is not your father withdrawing from you, it is the disease taking him away. I am sure as fathers do, in his heart he has great love for you, his illness just doesn’t allow his mind to remember it.
So painful for all.
You are as always in my heart, thoughts and prayers.
Bill
PS. I was going to change Hudds53 to Hudds54 but decided just to go with Bill

Thank you, Bill. Just getting a comment is enough, you don’t really have to say anything at all.

Yes, my dad did love me very much when he was well, and it isn’t that he doesnt’ anymore, it’s that he isn’t able to fully remember he does, or know how to interact with people he does care about anymore.

I wondered why you’re name had changed at the top. Just “Bill” works well.

~Kelsey

17 12 2006
timglass

🙂 anyway!

I smile, but it also makes me cry.

~Kelsey

17 12 2006
Maria Toth

God bless you and your reflections
maria in the UK
http://www.inhishands.co.uk

Thank you, Maria for stopping by and for commenting.

~Kelsey

17 12 2006
silverylizard

i have no words really, either. im just glad for you that you had a loving father as long as you did, and that he didnt leave intentionally. its a treasure many have not had, nor the memories you did get to make. thats a great treasure.
kïrstin

You’re right, sadly, a lot of people don’t have any good memories with thier dad. I would love to have more, but I’m very thankful for what I do have.

Thank you for stopping by, Kïrstin.

~Kelsey

17 12 2006
michaelm

Kelsey-
Don’t be too quick to rule out the ‘small miracles’.
I shared many a sacred moment with my mother, few of which I’ve blogged.
It’s those insignificant microcosms of time that allowed me to continue caring and loving a mother that I truly believed was no longer there. Live for those moments and cherish them for as long as you can. You’ll be so happy you did.
Remember to hope. Sometimes that’s all we have.
I’m floored by how much of me is contained eloquently inside this post.
Please keep that pen moving…

~m

Don’t worry, I don’t discount the brief moments I can see my dad; they’re just bittersweet, like a lot of things.

I know a few individuals who are dealing with or have dealt with relatives who also have FTD (Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia, what my dad has) and it is shocking sometimes to see how closely they can relate to what I’ve thought and felt. I’ve noticed there’s a similar connection with others who have experience the trauma and pain brought on by any from of dementia, because it’s not something a lot of people can truly relate with.

~Kelsey

20 12 2006
guinever

Moe,

I’ve been reading a little bit on your blog tonight and I’m struck by your maturity in someone so young. I’m sorry that you’re watching your dad slip away. Whenever I am overwhelmed, I turn to the Psalms, especially Psalm 42. I often hide in the shadows. . .in the shadow of His wings. You know what I’m talking about (based on the title of your blog)

Not related to this particular post, I have to say that “Til we Have Faces” and “Hinds Feet on High Places” are two of my favorite books! And I just read ” A Grief Observed” again today, planning on posting a review soon on my blog.

Take care and I pray that you’ll find comfort and joy this holiday amidst all the grief.

Guinever

Thank you. Yes, the Psalms are a wonderful place to turn. Sometimes, it’s just nice to know even David, a man after God’s own heart, asked questions, and cried out to God in the mists of things he didn’t understand. Knowing you’re not the only one, can be comforting.

You have good taste in books.

I just read “Till We Have Faces” a few weeks ago, and “Hind’s Feet on High Places” is a wonderful book that I reread from time to time. I can relate with Much Afraid, as I’m sure a lot of people can. “A Grief Observed” has been the most helpful book I’ve read while dealing with losing my dad. Wonderful books.

~Kelsey

20 12 2006
guinever

Since you’re such a fan of C.S. Lewis, have you seen Through the Shadowlands, the movie with Anthony Hopkins playing Lewis? I highly recommend it. It does a good job of showing the relationship, the love and then the pain after Joy’s death. Definitely not a comedy, but it will make you smile at times! Excellent drama.

Clicking on my name takes you to my blog about birth–I do have one called grieving with guinever which is listed in my blogroll on my sidebar in case you didn’t notice while you visited. I found your blog through the grief tag/category.

Guinever

Yes, I have seen “Through the Shadowlands.” It’s a wonderful movie. 🙂

~Kelsey

23 12 2006
Mrs. Nicklebee

Kelsey,

Thank you for sharing your “Dad moment”. It relates to something I’ve been thinking about this week. This week would’ve marked my mother in-law’s 57th birthday. She died of ovarian cancer which is quite a bit different than what your Dad has but is similar in the one respect that she did not have control of her mind toward the end. I’m not sure if it was the drugs or the cancer. Maybe both. I remember getting ready to go home from her house sometime during her last few days of life and going into her room to tell her I’d see her later. She seemed trapped inside her body so when I talked to her, it was under the assumption that she could understand, she just couldn’t make her thoughts correspond to speaking. It was rare during that last couple of weeks to be able to hear anything that resembled herself, but that day we thought she would not make it through the night but I had to go home and take care of my kids so I said, “I’ll see you later,” knowing that one way or the other, I would see her later. When I said that, she responded but I couldn’t understand what she said. I leaned down and said as much and then she said something that was so obviously “her” that I just about lost it. Just looking into those almost black eyes, I could see that it was her looking at me and not some drug affected sick person. I just looked at her for a few seconds. *sigh*

Gosh I miss her. Thanks for reminding me of that.

(((((Kelsey)))))

28 12 2006
Moe

Mrs. Nicklebee,

When, just for a moment, I could hear my dad’s voice on the other end of the phone I felt like smiling and locking myself in a room and crying all at the same time. I’m glad a got to have a small glimpse of him, even though it made it hard, because I haven’t seen the real him again since that day, and I never know when one of those short gimpses might be the last time I truly see him.

Thank you for taking the time to share about your momer in-law. I’m sure it most be so hard anyway, and then the holidays seem to remind us of what we’re lost even more than normal, which only adds to it.

-Kelsey

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