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Alzheimer's Stole My Father

March 2011
Alzheimer’s unit
A light-fingered kleptomaniac
Among the residents.

If you want to keep something,
Do not bring it with you; and hand
your car keys to the nurses at the front desk
but pray they will not be called away, forgetting
your keys are there.

We decorated Dad’s shared eight by ten room
in reds and blacks, and gave him a large teddy bear
He grinned like a four year old, but he was eighty years older
One of the grandkids started to leave an I-phone around.
I snatched it up and threw it into my trusty back pack.

The nurse nodded at me. “Dick,” she said. “DICK!”
Dad looked past her, not seeing her, or maybe any of us.
It was as if his name meant nothing now, 
as if he was as nameless as the TV set, black chair and walls.
“Are you cold, Dick?” He did not blink, smile or respond.

She got right in his face, and spoke to him with a lower voice.
“I am sorry,” she told us. “He is better on sunny days.”
It was raining. After she left he went in and out of people-land.
Sometimes when he looked at me I caught a glimpse of recognition.
He knew he knew me, he did not know how though. 

I got him ice water, for that is what he told me he never had.
There was a full pitcher there, but he wanted the good Q.T. ice water
So I went to Q.T. and got two giant foam cups and 
gave him the good ice water.
He begged me to take him home. Pleading with me.

“Let’s just go,” he said. “I want to go home! “ 
My mother had told me I would know when it was time to go.
I listened to the pleading until it stopped.
Then he stared past me, through me, as if I was a window.

He was not my dad anymore.
Just a man who had no idea who I was.
A man who did not know me at that second.
A man who would forget to swallow in a couple of weeks.

Mom was right, it was time to go.
I gave him a little pat on his shoulder, but he
Did not turn or make eye contact or anything.
It was my last visit with my father. 

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

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Date: 4/12/2019 12:25:00 AM
Well ms Caren, Damn! I read 4 of yours and now Im a bloody addict. Superba!! Youre someone so in touch with her feelings and surroundings and then those words come .." be looked right through me as if I was the window" Yes your tragedy, turned triumph.
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 4/12/2019 12:37:00 AM
I am a grandmother of ten, and a school counselor for 24 years which means I have helped 7000 students "find their feelings". It was about time I found some of mine, right?
Date: 4/6/2019 5:56:00 PM
So sad and utterly relatable... sorry you had to go through this. *hugs*
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 4/7/2019 12:06:00 AM
It is a horrible thing to see....thank you my friend.
Date: 4/6/2019 2:08:00 PM
This is all too familiar, my father passed in 2003 from the same. People have no idea of what this disease entails until they see it, firsthand and that is all too often. I can empathize.
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 4/7/2019 12:06:00 AM
It is unbelievably difficult. Such a sadness.
Date: 4/5/2019 12:22:00 PM
This hurts to read. Such a tender touch given to your poem about this very harsh disease robbing a person of their dignity. Your description is perfect. My sweet aunt Kate had this cruel disease too. All the best, Elsa
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 4/5/2019 2:06:00 PM
It is a horrible path; but alas, so many are forced to follow it.
Date: 4/5/2019 3:04:00 AM
Such a sad emotional story Caren and I know what you went through as I lost my mother to that awful disease . My dad looked after her for as long as he could but it became too much for him. Tom
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 4/5/2019 6:58:00 AM
It is a horrible disease, and so hard on the caregiver. My mother lost 30 pounds the last year she cared for my father, bringing her down to a grand total of about 72 pounds.
Date: 4/5/2019 1:03:00 AM
What a moving story. I have had similar experiences but knew Mom was my Mom under any circumstances. Once I got that, I stopped feeling sad and knew she was Irene. Irene lived with my daughter and I for eight full years. What a fantastic experience it was for both my daughter and I. She loved my cats and ethnic music. I knew my Mom would never turn her back on me. That's who she was. Hope I made sense. Some Poets here look down their noses at caregivers. Won't read their poetry.... Panagiota
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 4/5/2019 6:58:00 AM
I have the utmost respect for caregivers, for is this not why we are given family and good friends? To be able to show our compassion and love?