My father, Tony Davenport, passed away last October after suffering from the disease for 10 years (16 years in total from when I first started to notice that something just wasn't right).
I wish that I had kept a journal of my experiences as I would love to write
about them but just can't seem to find the words to start. Somehow the way
I feel seems to be so different to what you read about on the subject.
When I think about my father now, I am so filled with happiness and love
because that is the sort of relationship that we developed throughout his
illness. We were never very close while I was growing up but my parents came to
live close to me and my family in their older years as my mother needed the
support while looking after my dad.
To this day, I am so thankful that
I was made to make a clear choice in the way that I dealt with him and
this disease - I could either be full of despair and sadness or realize that
I was being given a second chance of having a relationship with my
father. Not in the same sense as a normal father/daughter relationship, but in
the sense that he was my father and I loved him and wanted to care for him
the best way I knew how. I also needed to be there for my mother whom I
love dearly as well.
It certainly was not an easy journey, especially for my mother,
however, I believe that my dad knew that something was not right and he basically
just allowed us to take care of him. Right up to the end, I know that he
was very aware of who we were, even though he couldn't communicate it to us
and the evening before he passed away I was impressed at how bright his
eyes looked almost as if he was trying to convey to me that he truly loved
me and that he was happy to go. I have so many lovely memories of saying
prayers and reading to him before he went off to sleep - at those times, he
would often reach out for my hands which was his way of saying "I love you".
This disease has blessed me in more ways than I can describe and it has
definitely made me a more compassionate and loving person. However,
having a very loving family support group made it possible. My husband and
children basically let me get totally immersed in my father's care and
never put any demands on me, and my brothers and sisters helped in any way
that they could - for that I am eternally grateful.