Never Goodbye

Navigating the Journey through Dementia

During these past few weeks, my dad has revived the theme of going home. I ask him where home is, and sometimes it’s Akron, Ohio with his parents. Sometimes it’s Ohio in the house where I grew up, and sometimes it’s here in Alabama. However, more and more he doesn’t seem to know where home is.

As I watch him search for “home” over and over, I arrive at the same realization. I recognize the need to emotionally and spiritually let go of my father.

Dad is not wearing the self he wants to be. He looks to find that self, the one he used to feel so comfortable wearing. However–that self is no longer hanging in his closet.

His quality of life worsens daily, and he is imprisoned in a body with a crippled mind that no longer works properly. Breathing life back into him becomes unkind, for him as well as me. My holding on doesn’t help him to gracefully end what has been a full life. In many ways I believe he is telling me he is ready to pass on. When he talks about “going home,” he just wants to be himself again and come to rest in peace. After all, when you are able to be yourself, you are “home”.

It’s heartbreaking, and I want him to know that I’m always with him in spirit. The journey is his to make and he can leave, without his body, whenever he wants. Better things lie ahead for him. I respect his wishes and want him to be able to “come home”.

As I reached my decision to let go and cope with my emotions, I decided to celebrate Dad’s life and acknowledge the wonderful father I have come to know.