His Alzheimer's has gotten so much worse this past year. Some days, he just makes some sounds. I know he thinks he's talking but it's gibberish. He's had some small strokes, which doesn't help since the one side of his face is pretty droopy. I go over to his house several times a week to talk, do some physical therapy and bring him treats. He's been really out of it lately, so many times I leave practically in tears. He's just this bent over shriveled up old man that bears no resemblance to my dad -- or at least the one I remember.
Anyway, I was really encouraged today when I arrived because there was this look in his eyes. The vacant stare was gone. He was there. He was connecting. We did his exercises and then I got him some chocolate. He's still not using the arm on the side where he broke his shoulder in the fall. I'm trying to get him to use that hand by using it to eat candy. I call it is chocolate therapy and tell him I'm jealous.
We were having a nice visit and then he says, "I don't think I'm going to be here for much longer." I knew exactly what he meant, but I acted as if I didn't. "Here in your house? This chair?" "No. Alive," he tells me. It's not the first time we've had this discussion, but we haven't had it in awhile. It was as if today he woke up and suddenly realized what his life has become, trapped in his house, in his chair, in his body.
"Just hang on," I tell him. "It will get better. Brandon's going to be graduating soon. Don't you want to see him graduate from college." He's not convinced. "I think 87 years is enough. I'm done." By then, I'm pleading with him. "The snow will melt soon. We can start going out for walks and see all of the flowering trees. You'll like that. We can sit outside and listen to the birds sing and feel the sun on our faces." He relents. "Okay. I'll try."
A victory. But I am not comforted. In my heart, I know he's right. I'm just not ready to let go.