My dad exemplified loving kindness and generosity. His love for our mom and four children taught us to value life by treating others with respect and dignity. He loved visiting the sick, hungry, and bereaved. He was gifted in many ways, especially woodworking, giving away most everything he made. My favorite gift was a desk he built just for me.
In his 80’s, dad became increasingly disoriented and had little sense of direction. His occasional forgetfulness greatly increased, he no longer enjoyed being around others, and he had difficulty forming simple words and sentences. However, even though dad was embarrassed to speak when words wouldn’t flow, he still said a blessing before every meal.
As the disease progressed, dad slept more. He became unable to feed himself or lift his head, and communication ceased. He no longer recalled our names and faces – including mom’s – yet she remained his focus. He clung to her, watching her every move with staring eyes. She remained his loyal love, hope and caregiver.
My sweetest memory on this journey occurred right before dad’s communication ceased. One day, we were listening to Amazing Grace and to our amazement, dad moved to the seat’s edge and started humming the song. What an amazing gift to our family in his last days!
Please join with me and walk so that future generations are alerted to the urgent need to find a cure for this disease.