Life is like a Roll of Toilet Paper – By Tanya


 

In 2006, my Dad and I spent a week together in the Dominican Republic, and we made many treasured memories.

In the 2 years since his diagnosis, he had adapted fairly well to the changes. He had accepted the loss of independence, to a certain degree.

After he lost his driver’s license, he bought a motorized bicycle. He only drove it a few months, and then I got the dreaded call while I was at work.  While my Dad was cycling on a busy road, he lost his sense of balance and panicked.  He drove into the ditch, and called me from his cellphone to ask in a frail and frightened voice, “can you come and get me?”

Thankfully, my husband was home that day and went to pick up Dad and his bike… both still in the ditch on the side of the road.  My husband later told me that Dad looked like a frightened little boy sitting in a ditch when he pulled over to pick him up.  Dad never cycled again.

The time we spent together in the Dominican Republic was memorable, to say the least.  We were sharing a double room, and Dad’s balance has gotten so bad that he was always at risk of falling… and he now needed assistance to dress himself.

Mentally, he was still pretty sharp, but physically – he was failing fast.

It was a bit of a challenge for us to share a room together on our holiday. One morning, while Dad was showering I grabbed my book and sat on the patio to soak in the sun.  After awhile I could hear the shuffle of his feet coming up behind me and then I heard, “I think I put these on backwards.  Can you help me with my underwear?”

When I turned around to look, I paused, I laughed, and I said, “Dad, you can’t find the crotch, because you’re wearing MY underwear!”

That was among the many laughs we shared during that week  —  many of which involved him trying to put on my clothes. At least – I told myself – he was not in any physical pain.  The pain for him was mentally.  To realize what was happening to him, and struggling to accept the reality of what that meant. “Aging ain’t for sissies,” he’d always say.

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There were days when Dad couldn’t sit up straight in a chair or even lift a spoon to his mouth. He had no physical strength. It was hard to experience this deterioration, especially after having worked with him in my garden only 3 years before. He helped me dig out pathways and a pond. I couldn’t keep up with his energy those days. He was so strong, then.

I struggled to contain my anger, with this new reality; to accept how this once virile man was being consumed by this horrible disease.

Our tropical trip together was exactly the therapy I needed to soften my heart and strengthen my resolve.

My Dad will always live in my heart as my hero, my friend, my “Philosopher Dad.”  He always used to say “Life is like a roll of toilet paper… the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes!

I am so grateful we had quality time to create so many beautiful memories before the end of the roll.

 

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About author

This article was written by Tanya MacIntyre

After 20+ years as a broadcast journalist in mainstream media, Tanya felt that her job had become nothing more than a talking head that perpetuates fear and doubt. She made a bold decision to pursue her passion for “positive” media and founded The Good News Only in 2010, where you only hear GOOD things about GOOD people :D

Comments

Comments (6)
  1. Marie Pollnow says - Posted: March 1, 2015

    Oh this is so touching. Thank you so much for sharing. Your father is a wise man. I am sorry he is going through such difficulties. I have worked as a caregiver for awhile and it is not easy to see the deterioration people face. Bless you and your Dad.

    • Tanya MacIntyre says - Posted: March 1, 2015

      Thank you, Marie. I miss him every day, and his wisdom still guides me every day.

      Caregivers are angels on earth! Bless you for the work you do <3

  2. Christine says - Posted: March 2, 2015

    Tanya what a joy to find you here and such a kind, sweet picture into your journey with your father. Thank you for sharing this with us. Moving forward with someone during this stage is not easy and yet you and your father found the joy in those moments.
    How wonderful for you both.

  3. Debbie says - Posted: May 29, 2015

    This is a beautiful article Tanya. My mother had Alzheimers Disease and three of her siblings. And now my oldest siblings had it.

    • Tanya MacIntyre says - Posted: May 29, 2015

      Thank you, Debbie. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article.

      I’m sorry to hear that your family is dealing with Alzheimers. Having witnessed our Dad’s deterioration over 5 years, my sister and I are living with the reality that we could face the same future. On the bright side, it has motivated us to live every day to the fullest 😀

      All the best always xo

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