It’s always Sunday

My daisies are in full bloom here at home. They are the same daisies that we planted at Annie’s grave last year. My dad had a vision of daisies covering the entire grave, but that’s not allowed. We’re limited to planting only within twelve inches from the headstone.

Friday Mark and I drove nearly an hour and a half to the cemetery in Piqua, Ohio, so that I could see and photograph the blooming daisies.

The daisies are blooming on Annie's grave.

My dad liked to take care of cemetery plots. He always planted geraniums at his mother’s grave site. He and Mom went with us when Mark helped me plant the daisies. Then I took them back in early December to put Christmas decorations on Annie’s grave.

My dad is a faith-filled man. He never missed church on Sunday.

Early in 2009, Mom told me over the phone that Dad had started doing some things that were worrisome. He never knew what day of the week it was. For him, it was always Sunday. Mom would wake up on Tuesday, or Wednesday, and Dad would be getting dressed for church.

Mom wrote the names of the weekdays on a roto-file that she placed in the bathroom so he could see it first thing in the morning. That worked for a while until he started playing with it and changing the day. Later, she showed him how to check the daily newspaper for the day of the week if he was confused.

I feel bad that Dad can’t go to church anymore. It’s just one more thing. Physically he really isn’t able to anymore.

On Friday, Mark and I stopped at my parents’ house and bought dinner from a local submarine shop. I ordered a large salad and Mom ordered cheese steak sandwiches for herself and my dad, as did Mark. We also ordered an appetizer of potato wedges.

Dad used to like to get the large dinner salad too. I could tell by the way he looked at my salad that he wanted some. So I checked with Mom and she said it would be okay to give him a small portion. Dad ate that, and a couple of potato wedges, a small bag of potato chips, and then played with, but did not eat, a small section of his cheese steak I had cut for him.

Dad was relatively talkative on Friday. When I refilled his glass of Sprite, he looked and me and said, “Thank you.” I could tell the words were hard to come by and difficult to express.

I could see Dad had no intention of eating the cheese steak sandwich. “Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” I asked. He nodded. “Do you want strawberry or grape jelly?” No response. “Do you want strawberry jelly?” I asked. He nodded.

When I set the sandwich on the plate before him he said, “When I woke up this morning, I was thinking about this,” — a full-length monologue for him.

“A peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

He nodded.

“Maybe I can read your mind,” I said and smiled.

He looked pleased.

Dinner was finished. Mom looked at the clock and said, “It’s almost 7:00. Church comes on TV at 7:00”

Mark and I left. Mom and Dad went to church sitting at their kitchen table.

21 thoughts on “It’s always Sunday”

  1. precious moments every one.

    I am happy your family had their time in church. church is where you are not where you are at.

    hugs on a Sunday. and every day is Sunday 🙂

    1. You’re right. I’ve been to church in a small woods beside someone’s home, in a little chapel in a hospital, in all kinds of places. It is where you are.

  2. You read his mind about the pb and j! Some connections are always there. I am in the midst of being a caregiver for my father in law and it can be tough some days. But as I have told many people —it is no wonder I fell in love with this man’s son—because I love him so much. Love can somehow see beyond the physical and the limitations. The daisies are beautiful, btw. My favorite flowers and what a great idea to honor a loved one that way. Good for you.

  3. I’ve only known one person in my whole life who had Alzheimer’s; he died when I was around 8 or 9 years old. The one thing I clearly remember is that he didn’t realize he was an old man. He was unaware his wife had been dead for years, didn’t recognize his own children. It’s a heartbreaking disease. 😦

    1. Last year when we took Dad to the cardiologist, he had to use his walker to get into the waiting room. An older man walked up to the receptionist with a cane. Dad leaned over and said, “That’s going to be me soon.” I think he meant he was going to be old and decrepit soon. The sad thing is that the man with the cane was in much better physical shape than my dad was. He had no clue.

      When my sister Annie had been dead for six months, he was still telling people that he just lost his daughter a couple of weeks ago. It is heartbreaking.

      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Oh boy, that would be hard. Especially for your mother. So glad they figured out just ‘attending’ church on TV. Brilliant!
    Those moments when your dad is still ‘there’ must be so special to you.
    Beautiful post, Christine.

  5. You express all this with so much love.

    The daisies are beautiful. I wanted to plant something near my mother’s grave, but it’s not allowed. They have little flower holders (which one can purchase from the cemetery) and you can only leave what they will hold. Anything else gets picked up and tossed in the trash. Even the flowers are only allowed to stay until the next sweep-up.

    1. I was pleasantly surprised with the daisies. We hadn’t been up there for quite a while so I didn’t realize how big they had gotten. It felt right having that showy display blooming on my happy little sister’s grave. I only wish Mom and Dad coukd have seen it.

  6. I found your blog and I am glad I did.
    My mother had Alzheimer’s and eventually father and my sister made the decision that she needed 24 hour care. This was on the other side of the world and so they discussed this with me as families do.
    The last time I saw my mother she asked me who I was. She thought I was a nurse.
    Thanks for sharing. We all do need to know about these things. And church at the kitchen table – fantastic.

    Judith 🙂

    1. I’m sorry about your mother. You know how hard it can be. My mom wants to keep him at home, but she is really struggling. I hope she is able. I hope it gets easier for her. My dad still knows who we are. At least I think he does. He doesn’t talk a lot. I dread the day when he doesn’t know me. That will be hard.

  7. I’ve not seen a cemetery where one can plant their own flowers at the grave site. It’s lovely that way. My grandmother cared for my grandfather at home after a stroke. He died before I was two, but my dad always told of how his mother cared for his father “changing diapers” as he put it. That seemed to be the only part he ever talked about, and the he didn’t want to end up like that.

  8. God bless your family for making it through each day. Sharing your journey reminds us that each moment is valuable…even a pb and j moment.

    hugs for being a wonderful daughter…hugmamma. 😉

  9. Have you considered a second memoir about your father? I think it would help many people who face the hardships of carrying for a family member with Alzheimer’s. Just a thought.

    1. My father’s story is actually one of my works in progress. I started interviewing him two or three years ago about his early life. I’ve transcribed some of these tapes, but am not able to continue working on his story at this time. I will get back to it later.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story. As human beings, I think we all need to get with it a little better and refocus on the really important things in life, as I think you did here.


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