The longest ride of my life

Mom’s last six years of life on this earth were painful for her, emotionally, physically and mentally.  My father was in complete denial. He was certain that she would get better, that suddenly medications would work, or if we just pray more and lived better lives, things would change. I remember when Mom’s doctor came to the house to explain that dementia would become Mom’s constant companion.

He said, “ She will ask the same questions over and over, and she will believe it is the first time. She has never asked the question before. Imagine the emotional pain you can cause when you say things like “You just asked me that” or “Don’t you remember?”  It resonated with me, but Dad just couldn’t help it. He had to let her know. The most evident issue of this part of dementia is the topic of the longest ride of my life.

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We were on our way to my Aunt’s funeral. She was very close to her sister. She asked where we were going and Dad was determined to make her understand. Every time she asked where we were going he would tell her about the funeral. I was the first time she had learned that her sister passed away, again and again and again. She would ask how she died and experience that grief and trauma. Ten minutes later she would experience it all over again.

When we stopped at the rest area, I took Dad out of earshot. “Please just tell her we are going to Idaho. It is killing me to see her suffer like this.”

“I can not lie to my sweetheart.” he replied.

I yelled. “We are going to Idaho.”

We were at odds and it was the most painful and longest ride of my life.

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13 thoughts on “The longest ride of my life

  1. I am sorry your mum suffered. Dementia is such a difficult issue. It is good that there is more awareness now then ever. Let’s hope for the future. x

  2. I share your journey it is heartbreaking. My mum has vascular dementia and her memory isn’t too bad but her mood is unpredictable. It is the most difficult thing we have been through as a family. My Dad is the same and finds it do so difficult to communicate with his wife of 65years. He finds it difficult to accept her personality changes.

  3. I can’t even imagine what you went through. That experience must of been very difficult. Not only dealing with your own thoughts and feelings but also trying to help your Dad deal with it too. What sort of effect did your mum’s dementia have on you? Thank you so much for sharing, it must of been difficult,

  4. Sorry about your mum and dad.
    Certainly that was the longest ride.
    I wonder though, did he start saying “We are goin to Idaho!” …eventually?

  5. It is funny. Since my husband has Alzheimers’, it helped to prepare me for things I didn’t know were coming. I didn’t have as hard of time as Dad because I didn’t argue. I agreed and distracted.

    I sincerely believe in therapeutic lying for people with dementia. When she said that I was sitting on someone named May – I jumped up and moved and apologized to someone who wasn’t there. Tears for me happened later and in private.

    Thanks for asking.

  6. I think it is much harder on the spouse. It is like living with a stranger that used to be your mum. I hope you will find a little humor along the way. Looking back I have learned to laugh.

  7. I suppose in the big picture there was something the rest of use were suppose to learn. I hope we got it done.

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