This is my parents 40th anniversary picture taken a few years ago. We did not know what lay ahead for us.
It was taken before we knew what was going on with Daddy, before the Alzheimer's demon became a part of our lives.
This party was a surprise, and was held in the social hall of the same church where they were married. I tracked down wedding party members and friends that attended their wedding. I spent months planning this party and I am glad that I did.
This is the way that I like to think about my Daddy, the way he is in this picture. He smiled easily and his blue eyes sparkled when he laughed. Daddy has a beautiful voice, and hearing him sing never got old to me. He also whistles, it is amazing! Daddy had a corn ball sense of humor, that is where I get it from! We shared many laughs together over things that on one else thought funny. We communicated without words many times.
I can't make myself go to his church simply because I can not walk into that church and look in the choir, and not see my Daddy up there. My life will never be the same, my heart will never be the same. The void that you are leaving can't be filled.
The impression that he left will remain as long as I live, I am better for having this man as my Daddy. His example of how to live has been the pattern for my life. If we could talk, I know what he would say to me if I told him about what things were like for me now. He would look at me, tilt his head to the side a bit and ask "what are you doing about it?". Understand the meaning of his words, not what am I doing to help him, what am I doing to help me and the other members of my family, how am I making a difference for myself and others? Daddy always pushed me lovingly to do better than I thought I could, and make a difference in the world around me. I struggle with that question, and am not entirely sure how to answer it at this moment.
The only thing that I can do today is sit beside him, hold his hand and take in the sight of those gorgeous blue eyes, and bow my head and thank God for giving me a Daddy like mine.
I know you are not able to read this Daddy, but I love you!!! Thank you for setting a Godly example for me to follow! Thank you for being the kind of Daddy that makes a daughter proud! Thank you for being my Daddy. The time that I am able to visit you is coming to an end, but I will love you even when I can't see you anymore!!!!
Alzhiemers is a cruel disease and I encourage anyone reading this to learn more, and give to the Alzhiemers Association. The statistics are frightening. A cure needs to be found. The impact of this disease will affect everyone in one way or another. None of us are immune to the impact of this disease.