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I Can Tell By His Stare

A caregiver’s nightmare

Jason Rosewell for Unsplash

As I look into his hazel eyes

And see he isn’t there

It’s so strange a feeling

When he looks through me

As if I wasn’t there

The struggle with dementia is

You don’t know what is real

He’s alert, and then he’s gone

I don’t know how to feel

It’s not like the aphasia

That took away his voice

He didn’t have a say

It took away his choice

It’s not because of Parkinson’s

Unfortunately, he has that too

It’s like there aren’t any lights on

When he’s looking back at you

The pain of dealing with my dad

Is painful, can’t you see?

He really can’t do much at all

Except occasionally

We play a game that makes some words

It’s then I know he’s sharp

Yet, later, when I talk to him

The blank stare plucks at my heart

I don’t want to lose him

Just stop the misery

The suffering and the pain

I wish I could turn back the clock

And have my dad whole again

My dad is staying with me after a 4-day hospital stay due to repeated falls at his home. The struggle to communicate with him is reaching critical mass; even the whiteboard isn’t much help anymore because the words he wants to say aren’t translating to the board anymore.

Home health is coming out now, so in addition to OT and PT therapy, I asked for a speech therapist too, hoping she could teach us some new methods. Unfortunately, Aphasia took his voice, Parkinson’s causes severe tremors, so texting and writing are nearly impossible.

This morning, on my blog, I featured a Tool song that illustrates a schism where communication is concerned. Check it out if you're a Tool fan or just interested.

Say a prayer for us that a solution will present itself, and while you’re at it, say one for me as well. It’s tough to deal with an aging parent, especially one as challenged as my dad. We are praying we can transition into an assisted living facility before his legs give out completely, and I can no longer care for him.

It will be a difficult conversation, as he believes he will be able to return to his home. Sadly, I don’t.




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Kim Smyth

Kim Smyth

Freelance writer/blogger, editor-creator of Words on a Page blog- Interests are creative writing, alternative medicine, and music.

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