Sunday, 13 December 2009

Children aren't scared of dementia

Today my dad laughed.

He smiled.

He also cried.

It was the ward Christmas party. There were musicians with a guitar, fiddle and bodhran and singing. His kind of music.

He wore his Christmas tie and was happy to see us. He knew we were there, and – I think – who we were. Music is so emotive, and I suspect his tears were of recognition. Were they also of loss?

Seeing him cry made me cry while I sang along with the music, to him, holding his hand and tapping in time. Seeing him laugh is so precious as it happens very rarely. Today he was with us.

There was a raffle – raising money to help pay for more of these small breaks from an unending routine - and food, and laughter. Families were there trying to make the best of what they have left together and sharing in a mutual effort and understanding of the sadness latent in it all.

It was worth the tears to see Dad laugh. A charming 3 year old girl in a Santa hat sang for him, and waved and chatted, and he laughed and smiled. She didn't know what's wrong with him, and nor did she care, to her he was just a man smiling and laughing along with her and us. (My nephew is the same, insisting that my brother buy the shortbread that is his favourite, in a tin shaped like a bus - for Grandpa.) He is my dad, still, sometimes.

I love him and miss him so much. Typing this has made me cry again, but that's ok because he laughed. Let this be my memory of him. Dad laughing.

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