My Stepfather turned 86 last week but has dementia. The hardest part of it for me is knowing he really loves me, yet that too is what causes him angst as he thinks he should have loyalty first and foremost to his own children who were all grown up when he left their mother to be with mine, when I was only 3 years of age. The irony is he confuses who they all are except for one and that in doing this feels frustrated because he thinks he should love them more than me and cannot seem to realise that he can love us all the same.
He doesn't seem to register that Dexter is my son, and when we visited him kept referring to him as a little girl, and the daughter of his daughter. Dexter was really good about it as he understood that his mind was not there, but that too made Dexter really sad as he desperately would love him to be a grandfather to him and although he knows he is this he also understands that his mind is slowly crumbling.
My stepfather (funny me writing this as until my Mother died I always called him my Dad) knew who I was, but appeared confused too because he sees me as a teenager and doesn't expect me to have a son or husband! He recognises Anders, but not as my husband (both Anders and I think) but as someone who he remembers as being familiar and nice.
The really good thing about seeing him now is that he has gotten over the angry stage where he was angry with me, my mum for having died, and for generally not being in control of what is going on with his mind. This was something that resulted in me stopping seeing him frequently as it upset Dexter too much not to mention me! Now he is just calm and "content", probably because of the volumes of pills he has to take and for that I am grateful as it means that I feel as though I can now visit without the dread of leaving having been shouted at or having caused him to feel anger.
|My mum and I both loved this photograph which still hangs in their house.|
So when we went round to see him for his birthday, I showed him and Dexter some old photographs, but he didn't recognise his own family including his own mother, but he knew who I was and who my Mum was. I told them both who the people in the photographs were to which my Dad said "they could be but I don't know" but in a way that was confusing in itself to him as he was wondering how I could know these things as he didn't but was accepting of it all, again probably down to the medication.