One day I run a bus station with nightly parties and people stealing food. The day before, I managed a boarding home, and the day before that we lived in a state 1200 miles away. Each morning when I woke up, I wondered where my father would think he was living. I discovered that the only way to survive as the primary caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s was to try and maintain a sense of humor. When it became evident (to everyone but me) that my father could no longer live on his own in New Jersey, I flew from Florida to Philadelphia with an extra one-way ticket, hoping to persuade him to return with me. I packed up what I could fit into a couple of suitcases, shipped some things, and we were off.
“Who stole my pockets?” became a family anthem symbolizing the humor hiding in even the most difficult situations. “Who stole my pockets?” ended up being the opening line of my son Jesse’s college application essay. My son, daughter Kasi and my husband spent five years caring for my father as he quickly slid into the depths of Alzheimer’s.
We are always somebody’s child, even when we have children and grandchildren of our own. Somewhere things become bifurcated; your roles in life become split in half, and you are no longer just child but find yourself suddenly parent to your parent. ♠
What about you? If you are in this situation now, or have been, we’d love to hear your story. Feel free to leave us a coment.