First Name Basis

“Ok, if you need anything, just let me know. My name is Brooke.“

“Brooke. That’s a pretty name.”

As a child of someone with Alzheimer’s, you know the day inevitably will come that your parent will forget you. You try your best to steel yourself. To prepare for it. But how can you possibly prepare to be forgotten by someone who brought you into this world?

Up until he forgot me, I honestly never, ever thought I wouldn’t still be able to call him Dad. I just assumed I always would. When that concept hit me, it hit me HARD. Alzheimer’s had already taken so much of my dad, did it really have to rob me of calling him Dad too? I swore it wouldn’t.

But this disease is so much more powerful than you, me, or the promises we make to ourselves.

A couple months ago, he started getting visibly very agitated whenever my brother or I called him Dad, since in his mind he doesn’t have any children. We discussed it with our mom and, to ease his anxiousness, we decided that when we are around him we’ll call him Glen like everyone else. The thought of calling him by his first name crushed me. I cried a lot, mourning my dad yet again. Alzheimer’s is cruel enough, but then it has little sucker punches like this that it throws at you when you are already down.

But then I did it. I called him Glen. And a strange thing happened in me.

Before calling him Glen, I had a lot of emotions bubbling at the surface – I still do, some days. But calling him Glen helped me see him as someone I care about deeply, who my mom takes care of, and who we visit.

But, as much as we love him, that’s no longer my dad.

My dad lit up the room when he entered it. My dad knew everyone, and everyone seemed to know him. My dad gave the best advice, cracked the funniest jokes, was my number 1 fan (alongside my mom, of course), and he truly, truly believed in me. I knew no matter what I did, he knew I could do it.

Dad was my hero. And although he’s right in front of me, he’s gone.

Since calling him Glen, I have more patience now and a little less anger bubbling at the surface. I’m not as hurt to be forgotten as I was even 2 months ago.

Why?

Because by calling him Glen, I found a way to separate my dad from this disease that has taken over. In a crazy way, finding that separation somehow feels like the one upper-hand I have over this hell-on-earth disease.

I had no idea that NOT calling him Dad would bring me some peace. But I’ll take it.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Dara says:

    Brooke… that never crossed my mind that you wouldn’t call him dad. Curtis had the same thing with my dad. My dad remembered us kids but didn’t know the grandkids. It hurt Curtis terribly. They had a lot of fun together, and you think they’d remember that. Brooke you’re a fabulous writer keep these memoirs close to your heart. One day you can compile them and write a book. There is a lot of people out there that need help. And you are helping them. Even as I read this it opens my mind up for my mom. She has aphasia, part of dementia. It also is sad. It has taken her voice and her writing skills away. But she’s smart as a whip when you ask her something. We just have to wait a long time for the answer and she gets no and yes mixed up. Thank you for writing today. We love Your mom and dad dearly. Big hugs to you, Dallas and the kids . Xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. brooke says:

      Thank you for the love and the kind words, Dara. It is such a cruel and painful disease, I’m so sorry you guys have and are going through this too. Much love to you and your family and your mom from us too!! 💕

      Like

      1. Dara says:

        Every year Logan and I do the Alzheimer’s walk and run. Unfortunately this year we couldn’t attend. But I did do a two block walk. And I got a pair of turkey socks. Yehh

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Amber says:

    Hi Brooke,

    It’s been a very long time since I last saw you, but I’ve been reading your posts and I just want to let you know how amazing it is. I have great memories of you dad from when we were kids and my dad still tells stories about him. Just wanted to send you some ❤️!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. brooke says:

      Thank you Amber! I would love to hear those memories sometime 🥰 Hi to your family from us!!

      Like

  3. Jeneen says:

    Beautiful!
    Makes me sad that I know there is a way to reverse and prevent this disease and it isn’t getting the attention it deserves because big Pharma keeps it hidden…

    Like

    1. Dan says:

      This isn’t the time or place to promote your bizarre conspiracy theories. Shame on you.

      Like

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