As I have posted several times before, my Dad is in a nursing home. He was diagnosed with early onset dementia last August. His dementia has been complicated by two surgeries since then which has re-baselined his condition.
My visits to the nursing home occur about three times a week now. Each time I go I am struck by the fragile nature of the human experience. I don't know if I like being reminded that I too will become old and frail and quite possibly need the support that only a nursing home can provide. This is something I haven't had to think about prior to my father's experience. I guess like so many other people we prefer to live in the moment of today rather than think about 40 years ahead. I mean...why would we? We have so many things to preoccupy our life with at this moment and sometimes it is just enough to organize those thoughts and activities.
Yesterday, I couldn't help "thinking back" for these older folks. What was their life like? Do they have children? What kind of jobs did they have? Did they go to Florida on vacations? Did they know true love in their lifetime?
Their actions nor the expressions on their faces answer those questions for me. I am left wondering and that leaves me feeling lonely for them. How much they actually remember is beyond my scope of understanding at this point because they are all suffering from some form of dementia and their answers are not always a clear and accurate portrayal of their lives. Even for my Dad.....his answers to my questions - for which I know the answers - are not always correct. His state of mind has him clear one day and working a plumbing job the next.
Nevertheless, my heart goes out to these people. They have no control of the disintegration of their minds and the utter collapse of every memory they have ever created. My only hope is that all of them have someone who loves them and respects them for the lives they no longer remember.