Stuck on Repeat

“You don’t have to put on a smile all the time.”

It’s the simplest thing. Something that, deep down, you should really know. But when my friend Harper (formerly Lady Grinning Soul) told me just that yesterday, I realized that I had completely forgotten it.

I think that with this whole Alzheimer-shebang, mum and I have slipped into a certain mindset. One that lets us make jokes and piss and moan about just how silly it is that dad’s lost the ability to correctly pronounce “macaroni” or something. Because it is the only way we can cope with it.

Neither of us is willing to cop to it, but deep down, we are both on edge.

Of course it’s not “silly”. It’s one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever witnessed. My dad is 55, and to see him slowly becoming less aware of everything is painful.

I think I’m not alone in feeling that (at least here at home) mum and me are fighting a losing battle. The doctors tell us to “be patient” and “keep breathing”, and that “it’s all part of his disease”. My mum has heard “keep breathing” so many times now, she actually said that the next person who says it to her will get a smack in the face.

Apart from our social worker and my psychiatrist, nobody (again, just here at home) seems to understand just how bad dad is getting. His ability to write has nearly deteriorated, he can’t remember the smallest things, and it often seems like he’s stuck on repeat. The people who are around him the most do seem to understand. Mum often chats with a nurse from the clinic he goes to, and she confirms that it’s just that bad over there too.

And then there’s Gamma (his mother). If I went off about her, I’d be busy for months, so I’ll just say that she’s not our friend (which is a huge understatement, but hey.)

Gamma doesn’t seem to think that there’s anything wrong with her precious son. In fact, she thinks we’re both making this entire thing up. We are both apparently conspiring against him, together with “our friends”.

“Our friends” being the doctors who treat us and know everything about dad’s condition. Ergo, the people with all the sense and that.

Ugh. I don’t know. What with Gamma being overly protective of “her baby” and people telling us that we need to “keep breathing”, I’ve kinda had enough. Thank fuck for Twitter and this blog. And my writing, of course.

I think that if I wasn’t able to work on something completely unrelated to my life at home, I would go batshit insane.

This is how batshit I'd get, btw.





Leave a comment


  1. heathercoleatvaginaantics

     /  April 23, 2012

    I lost my Grammy to Alzheimer, and it is a cruel bitch of a disease. (I was going to write “sucks utter shit” but thought I should be more civilized.) Caring for her as she declined was maddening and agonizing and just…words fail. I never would have ended up as cute and adorable as your crazy panda-self. I was more along the lines of straight jacket in a Victorian loony-bin, hair wild and eyes rolling. My heart goes out to you and your family. Hugs from North Carolina. xo

    P.S. I discovered you through The Ladygarden Project, and I’m thrilled that I did. Great post!

  2. Virtual hugs and well wishes. You and your mum are doing all the right things and should ignore “Gammy” I’m sorry she isn’t being supportive, to put it nicely. I’m glad you have some ways of coping…you are a brave & strong person! Take care.


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