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Denial

No no no no no no no.

This keeps going through my head over and over. My dad had a stroke.

Stroke.

No. Can’t be true. Nope.

Mentally I’m holding my ears and scrunching my eyes closed and saying la la la la la as loud as I can.

My dad had. A stroke.

My grandfather had a stroke. My dad’s dad. He had a couple actually. Ultimately he died. I was too young to remember the man he was before the stroke. I’m told it changed him a lot. I only have pinpoints of memories of my grandfather. His stroke made him much grumpier and as a small child I didn’t understand it. I loved him though despite the fact that he scared me a little. I wish I could remember him as he was before his strokes. I don’t think he would have scared me then.

I wonder if my dad had as hard a time accepting things when it was his dad as I’m having now that it’s mine. I wonder if his mind argued with itself. His dad was an amazing man, I’m told. I know my dad thought so. How did he handle it when it was his dad lying in a bed or sitting in a wheelchair? I wish I could ask him.

I visit my dad and I see the other stroke patients. They’re old. My dad can’t be old. My dad can’t possibly belong here with all these weak, sick old people. He doesn’t belong there.

Those can’t be my dad’s legs, so small and frail. Those can’t be my dad’s arms, barely able to lift himself an inch. My dad picks me up when I’ve fallen and hurt myself. His are the arms I can curl up in when I’ve had a scary dream. He gives me advice when I have a problem. The roles aren’t supposed to reverse like this. He’s my dad.

The worst is his mind though. He’s not there. At least not completely. My dad not only knows the year and the president but he’ll talk your ear off passionately for hours about exactly how said president has failed. My dad doesn’t stare off into space. My dad doesn’t just follow a conversation, he leads it.

No Dad, it’s not 2003. No Dad, it’s not 2012. No Dad, you’re not going home tomorrow. No Dad, that man in the next room isn’t your brother.

No.

I can’t stand it. It breaks my heart into a million pieces. It’s so unfair that my dad is almost 73 and I’m only 25. I feel like I’m desperately clawing, trying to hold onto every precious second I have with him and those seconds are sand, disintegrating underneath my nails faster and faster and faster.

It takes my breath away to think of losing him. How much less of a whole my family would be without his hearty, infectious laugh and goofy jokes. I’ve had that ticking clock in the back of my mind for years now. I knew I couldn’t keep him forever. Why do I feel like someone just sped up the countdown?

It could have been so much worse. He can walk and talk. If you didn’t know him you might not even know he’d had a stroke. But for me? The lack of mental clarity makes me nauseous. My dad is his mind. I want him back.

I can’t help but feel likes it’s the beginning of the end and that thought sends me swirling into a deep dark pit of despair. I want to be wrong. I’ve never wanted to be wrong so badly in my life. I desperately want everything to return to normal. I don’t want a reason to be in denial.

Outwardly I’m remaining positive and hopeful. Inside I’m holding my head and screaming at the top of my lungs. I want my dad back.

Nothing is wrong.

No no no no no no no.

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5 Comments

  1. I was really hopeful that this was an April Fools but judging by your previous post it’s not. I really wish it was though.

    My grampa had a stroke earlier this year, although he has had a lot of health problems for the past few years too. He seemed old before so it wasn’t as much of a shock, my gran is the most affected though as she has a lot more work to do looking after him, I think he is unaware most of the time. It’s hard to watch someone you love and care about change.

    On the other hand, family friend had a stroke a couple of years ago and he is pretty much the same as he was before. He took a year to recover but you wouldn’t know that it had happened now, thankfully. So often we think the worst and things can get better, I hope your Dad improves a lot over the next few months.

    Thinking about you,
    Jade

  2. I am coming into this post late, but I’m thinking and praying for you and your dad especially. Keep us updated– I wish I could help more!

  3. Edgyperson

    My dad had a stroke too. I can't bear it in the same ways you describe. I keep dreaming I'm in a car with him and he can't drive and i get so angry at him. My dad was so sharp. His mind of his age was amazing. Now he gets so confused. I am lucky he can speak and knows who we all are but there's that missing bit. My mum has gone away for a well earned rest and he can't accept it. He keeps asking me when are we packing our bags. When are we going? I tell him again and again and after a moment, he asks the very same question. My clever dad just won't get it anymore. I am calm. I say it slowly. "Dad they have gone away but I'm here to look after you. We can make the holiday here at home". Then again, after a moment……"how will we get there?"

  4. edgy person

    I understand what the first thread said. This can't happen to our dad. Our dad is in control. Our dad gives us good advice. I want to hug him but it hurts him if I try to. Everything is sensitive and everything hurts him. When he saw me yesterday he reached out his hand to me or so I thought. Actually he was simply stretching it out! There are still amazing things to hold onto about dad. His incredible kindness still shines through. The joy when my kids eat an icecream in front of him and thank him for it. His face shines with the giving nature that endures onwards and always. Dad is daddy and always will be.

  5. This post is amazing. With all the chaos going on during this time, I never read it when it was posted. It made me cry a little, because it perfectly expressed how I felt at the time too. I love you sis. Xoxo

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