Saturday, February 1, 2014

Understanding what I did not understand before

I have said before that my Father in Law had Alzheimer's.  He had it a while before we knew about it.  His wife, kept him going.  She was his memory, his direction, his motivation.  Then, Kelma died and Kurt was completely lost.  Kelma had a letter written telling Kurt to come to Virginia and live with us.  That was a good idea, except we had no warning of his disease.  To top it off, Kurt was a deaf as a stone wall!

We did all we could to get him physically healthy.  He had some serious dental problems they an oral surgeon fixed and made some new dentures for him.  We bought him a new hearing aid, that did not help!  But we tried.  We made a bedroom for him and did all we could to make him comfortable.  But he wasn't.  The doctor he went to finally told us he wanted to go back to California.  We made that happen.

Now, having a parent live with you is always difficult.  Add in his mental handicap and the fact that we were never told about it, and things were very difficult.  You might say, we should have known he had dementia.  Well, he was so deaf, and always was, we thought that was his issue.  We were wrong. Add to the fact that we were in our 30's and had a preteen son.  I was making deployments on a Tin Can and trying to make a living for my family, including Kurt.

Kurt later came back to us and we found the best professional care we could.  But, there were no Memory Support facilities in the late 1980's.  He only had social security coming in.  Again, we did our best.

Now, when I see things like the Gaither Homecoming Shows, I think of Virginia and long, so much to be home with my friends and in my Church.  I miss my Navy friends.  They are my family too.  I muss hearing my Pastor preach and him and his wonderful wife sing.  I miss the hugs and friendship of longtime friends.   I miss knowing where I am.

I now understand why Kurt was so disrupted in his move to Virginia.  I wish I would have understood his confusion and agitation then.  But I do now and I identify with his distress.  I never thought Kurt and I would be kindred spirits, but we are.  I now understand.

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