Honor thy father

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My father was the inspiration for my novel Requiem for the status quo.

I have held three author events since my novel’s release back in July and I have more planned before the end of the year. At the senior centers and independent bookstores where my events are hosted, each person attending is certainly there in support of my efforts, but more importantly, I believe their presence honors my father’s story, a story without a happy ending.

Here’s an excerpt from my novel that speaks of my fictional characters’ dilemma, but it also mirrors that which occurred in my real life experience with Alzheimer’s.

If it’s true that cancer is no respecter of persons, it is equally true that Alzheimer’s disease exhibits the same lack of respect. This disease is a murderer and I’m troubled by the millions of crimes it has gotten away with.

Alzheimer’s is also a robber, not only because it robs a person of his or her memories and future, but also because it exacts an emotional price that few can afford. To be sure, monetary costs are a challenging force to be reckoned with, but many family caregivers and their loved ones would no doubt conclude that the emotional toll on a person far surpasses even the costliest of care fees paid.

Until the person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia becomes blissfully unaware of the disease that is murdering him, he has a front row seat to all that is happening. My dad was the first to know when his senior moments became more than a quirk of the aging process. It grieves me to imagine what he went through when he was alone with his thoughts, witnessing first hand where those thoughts were taking him.

Yes, my father had a front row seat to the effects of a disease that is always fatal. Until he eventually became blissfully unaware, he lived with that fact every single day. If the caregiver thinks she or he has been dealt a bad hand in relation to Alzheimer’s, imagine if you possibly can how that hand plays out with the person diagnosed with the disease. I don’t know about you, but my imagination in such matters paints a picture I’d rather not see.

My very real reward for writing my novel is that my father is honored as a result of my efforts. Additionally, it is my sincere hope that those reading my novel and attending my author events manage to discover that they have a cheerleader in their corner…me.

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10 thoughts on “Honor thy father

    roughwighting said:
    September 7, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Alzheimer’s/dementia is the worse disease possible, in my mind. Like Kate comments, above, my mom and I talked every day on the phone the past ten years until she became unable to hold the phone, much less understand what to do with it. We shared books, we shared memories of family and the past, we shared gossip and when we got together (we live many states away), we dined out together, watched movies, drank wine and enjoyed our friendship. Now, she knows no one in her family except my brother and me. She’s gone through the angry violent time, and is now more content in the ‘not knowing,’ thank god. To write about your dad in this process is an amazing act of love.

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      September 7, 2017 at 7:58 am

      It is sobering just knowing there are so many people, like yourself, who have gone through or are going through this experience. With 44 million in the world diagnosed with the disease, it’s no wonder the stories are becoming more familiar. I sincerely hope you and your family make it somehow smoothly to the other side.

      Liked by 1 person

        roughwighting said:
        September 8, 2017 at 5:58 am

        Many thanks. We’re coping with love and communication. xo

        Like

    Kate Crimmins said:
    September 2, 2017 at 6:21 am

    I didn’t have any idea how dementia would affect me (as a caretaker) until my mother started to go in and out of lucidity. It stripped me of the person I had looked up to my whole life. She was the person I used to calibrated my values and morals. She was my bestie. I was heartbroken. When I got a grip on myself I realized that my mother was also aware of her “trips.” I specifically remember when she relived my father’s funeral which happed 30 years earlier. Then she realized it all and asked if I thought she was crazy. We both cried. Fortunately it was a “side effect” of other illnesses and she had it about six months before she passed. She never was completely out of it. I cannot image years of the back and forth. I have a lot of respect for families who deal with this.

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      September 2, 2017 at 7:25 am

      To be sure, the Alzheimer’s caregiver is a learn-as-you-go job that follows rules that constantly change from one moment to another. These caregivers are heroes: Ordinary people, doing the ordinary right thing, at an extraordinary time.

      Liked by 2 people

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    August 30, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Yes, you are the greatest cheerleader, Irene. Your words on each page of your novel honor you father and I just know he couldn’t be more proud of his daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      August 30, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you, Jill. It’s quite sobering having the story published. At this past Saturday’s bookstore event, I read the dedication to the audience…doing so did me in. ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

    laura bruno lilly said:
    August 30, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Iris Murdoch’s husband lovingly wrote about her before and during her dark journey into Alzhiemers and was the first personal account I read of the disease.
    It also caused me to delve into her own large body of work…that said:

    I believe you have honored your father. Hopefully you have gained a bit of peace through the process of writing your book.

    Liked by 2 people

      Irene Olson responded:
      August 30, 2017 at 8:59 am

      That is most definitely the case, Laura. Thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

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