I sit here enjoying my glass of wine and think about our visit with my Dad today. It is always easier when Megan is with me. We notice the same things. Particularly a shift in his mood.
Dad got quiet when we brought him back home after a picnic in the park with ducks. He was upset and he always wants to walk us out when we say we have to leave. We don't want him near the exits, so we always try to divert him. Today he said, "I want to talk to you."
We decide to take him seriously and listen for once. He talks about his frustrations and how he wants a job so badly. We listen and agree with him and it makes him happy. I think we're so used to telling him what to do or trying to make a joke to cheer him up that we forget to just listen. (We can't fix anything that he wants us to fix of course, but he is satisfied that we're listening). That's all he wanted today.
Megan read a pamphlet about how to talk to people with Alzheimer's. (I read it too and forgot what it said... I only remember thinking that we already do most of the things it was telling us to do -- oops, I should have paid more attention). One of the things was to listen and agree. It helps make him feel less powerless.
He was much happier after that and he felt OK that we were leaving. He even remembered that we were going to Arizona this weekend to see Papa. Clear as day he said, "Tell all those people over there Hi. And tell Papa I am sorry about... (and he went on)" OMG, he remembered that Nana died!!!And he was so sincere. And I felt like we had this moment with Dad today where he understood our sadness about Nana. And HE was actually sad about Nana. It was a moment where I felt like I had a Dad. A Dad who would console his daughters after they lost their Nana.