had Alzheimer’s Disease for many years. I watched him slowly losing speech,
forgetting everyday things, and finally not knowing who I was.
taken me a few years to concentrate on my father and his life before the
disease changed him and his outward personality.
Now I am
able to remember him as the fun-loving, creative, artistic, loving father he is
– the man he really is.
happens to a person who has his life altered by such a disease?
stand together in the elevator at the nursing home. He would praise me because
I knew which button to push to get to his floor. I remember thinking, Oh, pappa,
you have so much more knowledge than I have. You can do so much. Why is that
knowledge locked away, hindered by a horrible disease?
And had we
walked out the door, he would not have known his way around the building
without getting lost.
He had a
paper in his breast pocket. He told me it was the contract for him and mamma to
cut down the timber in the woods behind the nursing home. My mother had passed
away several years earlier, and there was no wooded area behind the nursing
home, just more buildings. But this he believed.
music. Some of my last memories of him is sitting on his bed in the nursing
home, singing to him. He looked like he was asleep, but his foot kept tapping
to the rhythm of the music. He heard me and enjoyed the song.
learned that the glory of God is intelligence. We are encouraged to learn all
that we can and that the knowledge we obtain in this life, will be a part of us
in the eternities.
I love to
learn. It’s exciting how we can learn many new things every day.
So, I have
wondered lately, when I read, watch, experience – and feel like I can’t
remember from one day to the next what I learned – will that knowledge still be
with me and be a part of me?
the knowledge we obtain will be stored. It is part of our mental harddisk, even
if we don’t remember things like what we had for dinner last Tuesday.
wrong to call it a harddisk. Our brain is not a computer. We cannot open it to read
a book or listen to a symphony there. It’s so much more complex than that.
believe that all the wonderful things my dad learned, all the talents he
improved, all the people relationships he mastered – these things are stored
and are still a part of him.
So, I am
picky. What do I want to learn? What knowledge will be important in days to
come? Which stories in the chapters of the book of Heidi will I bring with me?
My father had many talents and skills. One was building homes. He did the whole process; made the architectural designs, contractor, carpenter, builder, kitchen cabinet maker, furniture maker, interior design. He even won a price for best garden design.
My father did not know me during his last period on earth, but I could tell he enjoyed the visits.