Thursday, May 17, 2018

This sucks :(

My father-in-law is slipping away from us, mentally and physically. :(  Once energetic and restless, the life of the party (he was still mowing his own lawn -- and it's a large one -- when he was 84, and  insisted just four or five years ago, when he was 85, that he could go up on the roof and fix the chimney at stepSIL's house!!), he has been going downhill over the past couple of years, and has deteriorated in a shocking way since Younger Nephew's wedding last month -- particularly over the last two weeks. Dh notices a visible difference (and not a good one) every time he visits -- and he's been visiting more often since we learned the extent of FIL's health issues last week.

The nephews and their wives visited their grandfather last weekend, and reported that FIL did not remember Younger Nephew, nor the girls. :(  But he's never not recognized dh, until today. He thought dh was his younger brother at first (i.e., dh's uncle).  There IS a strong family resemblance -- and Uncle had been there to visit earlier in the day.

But still... :( 

Dh told me today that FIL asked him, "Do you have any kids?"  (!) :(  His heart just sank, and he thought, "I'm not getting into THAT with him...!" so he just said, "No, Dad."

FIL looked puzzled and said, "You never got married?"  (!)

"No, Dad, I'm married, we just don't have any kids."

A while later: "So how many kids do you have?" :( 

I burst into tears when he told me this. :( 

FIL was so, so happy when I was pregnant.  I can remember him coming up the front walk of our house with this huge grin on his face & putting his hand on my stomach & asking, "So how's my baby??"  And then when I lost her, coming up the walk again with this horribly sad expression on his face. I started crying when I saw him because I remembered the other time and how happy he was.

After Katie's funeral, when we paid our first return visit to the cemetery, FIL had already beaten us there. The plaque with the little bud vase attached was not yet mounted on Katie's niche, but there was a bouquet of flowers duct-taped (! -- typical FIL, lol) to the granite wall, with a little note that said (in Italian) "Your grandparents." I don't think he's ever been back there since then -- but I'll never forget that he was the first. 

This sucks. :( 


  1. I'm really sorry you're going through this. Hugs.

    It sounds like your FIL has been a very caring man. It's hard seeing them deteriorate, knowing that you can't do anything except try to provide comfort - emotional as well as physical. Sending you both my love and best wishes.

  2. Oh wow, your FIL sounds like an incredible man with a really big heart. This has got to be so, so hard for everyone and I wish I knew the words that would bring some comfort. I am sorry you are going through this and I am sorry his memory loss is bringing painful topics to the forefront of conversation. You all will definitely be in my heart and on my mind.

    I read a book for a class on dementia last summer called Creating Moments of Joy. I have not yet dealt directly with a loved one losing their memory, but I saw how difficult it was for my dad as his mother's Alzheimer's progressed. I don't know if it would be helpful for you, but I wanted to mention the book because I learned a lot from it. It is made up of extremely short chapters that you don't even have to read in order. It gives good ideas and strategies for how to navigate conversations with a loved one who is losing their memory and how to take painful moments and transform them into, if not joyful, then less-painful moments.

    <3 <3 <3

  3. I am so sorry Loribeth. This is a double whammy: someone you love being really ill, and then he also doesn't remember the loss of Katie. Losing her clearly meant a great deal to him in his life, and is one of the major touchstones of your own life. So for him to lose that memory? Tough stuff. Sending hugs. <3

  4. I'm so sorry - there's nothing worse than watching your loved one decline.

  5. This is so sad. I’m so sorry... and how this brings back such a sad time for you as a family when you lost Katie... breaks my heart. Take care.