• I'm slipping in my role as daughter

  • It has eventually come down to this - I am not the daughter I thought I was; I am failing miserably.

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  • It has eventually come down to this - I am not the daughter I thought I was; I am failing miserably.
    The amount of time keeps getting longer and longer between visits with Dad. I think about him always, but make excuses to myself for not going to the nursing home. I am totally focused on being a grandma and in doing so, being really selfish as a daughter.
    I wait until the nursing home calls and says he needs more adult diapers and then I can't make any more excuses not to drive the mere 10 minutes from my house to see him. I used to get so angry because so many of the residents at the nursing home never had any family members come to visit them, and now I've become one of them. I'm so ashamed.
    If I could get just a flicker of recognition it would be less painful to see him. I know I should go anyway and sit with him and keep the one-sided conversation going, but it's just too hard. People say those with dementia can still sense who you are, even if they aren't responsive, and to keep the memories alive you should go through memory books of pictures and keepsakes.
    Over the years, Dad and I spent quality time going through the memory book I made for him but now he simply has no interest to look at anything but the floor, his hands or staring into a world I'm no longer in. I feel useless and helpless while my years of being his caretaker have crumbled into being a daughter who won't take the time to visit her Dad.
    Dad and I made so many great memories after mom passed away and he came to rely on me for everything. Being his caretaker was hard, frustrating and draining, but I loved every minute of being the daughter who could make a difference in their parent's quality of life. Now I have no part in it, like I just passed him off to someone else to worry about while carrying on about my business.
    As I lugged in four large packages of adult diapers, I was determined this time to stay longer than 10 minutes. He was sitting in his usual spot, turning his hands over and over and inspecting them. He had no response when I sat next to him or even when I patted his leg and said his name. I asked him how he was feeling and he just grunted. I don't know if he's still in there and miserable or if his mind has shut down completely.
    It had only been five minutes and I was already slipping into the mindset of wanting to get out of there. I get so upset looking at him it makes me feel as if I have I can't breathe. The nurse walked by and I immediately jumped at the chance for her to unlock the door. I feel so awful, I didn't even say goodbye to him, I just needed to get outside.
    Page 2 of 2 - I'm so sorry Dad, your daughter apparently is no longer the "good girl" you always said she was.
    Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com

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