Hubby’s dad has dementia and resides in a nursing home because he requires more care than he can receive at home.
It was a sad day last November when the decision was made to place him there.
He was lost – out of place, away from everything familiar to him…no doubt afraid.
In five months time, he has lost himself.
It’s one thing to be lost and not know where you are or how to find your way home. And, it’s another to lose yourself and not know who you are.
Who are you when you lose your identity?
We know who he is. He looks the same, sounds the same, and recognizes us. But he doesn’t know who he is.
Since 1956, his designation and identity has been “minister”. Now, when asked what he did for a living, he says, “laborer.” He doesn’t remember pastoring churches, preaching, ministering to people, studying his Bible…. He remembers that he was a laborer – serving as a carpenter, working the field….
My dad had dementia for many years before he died. He got lost, but never lost himself. The panic that ensued when he became lost and the confusion that resulted from it was heart breaking.
Hubby’s dad doesn’t appear to experience the same panicky confusion with his forgetfulness. Instead, he seems detached…like something is unplugged somewhere.
Memories hard won and long cherished are lost and then forgotten – that’s dementia’s thieving way.
What does one think about when there’s nothing left to remember?