ALZHEIMER’S, YOUR PARENTS AND THEIR SECRETS
“The first sign I can remember? It was when Mom got lost driving home from the dentist,” Dad says.
“When was that?” I ask.
“After her first hip replacement.”
My forehead wrinkles as I do the math. “That was…fourteen years ago, Dad.”
“Yes. That’s right. She had worked really hard on a beautiful fruit salad, and she was supposed to be delivering it to the church. But eventually, one of the church ladies called because they were expecting her and she never arrived.”
I am mesmerized. This is the first time I have heard this story. Mom is in hospice now, preparing for her journey to heaven.
“So what did you do?”
“Well, I kept an eye out for her. And when she got home about an hour later, the fruit salad was beside her in the passenger seat. I asked her what happened, and she told me that she decided to run an errand instead. But I could see she was shook up.”
That makes two of us.
My mind floods with questions. Why had I never heard this story before? Had Diane heard it? Had Dad taken action on this red flag to keep Mom safe on the road? To keep others safe on the road?
A lifetime as his daughter helps me conjure up a quick list of possibilities why we are just now having this conversation: 1) Dad was resisting the truth, as I’ve done so often in recent years; 2) Dad was protecting us kids from what was happening with Mom; 3) Dad was worried about tipping us off and the impact that two meddling daughters would have on their privacy. Whatever the reason, it all adds up to The Great Cover Up.
Dad is too sad tonight for me to probe any further.
What can you do to get past your Caregiver’s Cover Up and learn the truth of what’s happening? And if you never do, how can you learn to forgive yourself…and them?