My Father will be 88 tomorrow. He was born Jan, 10th. Alzheimers is a very cruel and heartbreaking disease. I hear so many people say, You still have your Dad, you are fortunate".
I don't have my Daddy. I don't have the Daddy I knew all of my life. I talked to him on the phone last week as tears welled up in my eyes as he kept asking me over and over who I was. I said, it is me Daddy, Amanda. He obviously was having a bad day and didn't recognize anything about me and it would have made no difference had I been there with him. My sister told me that in the last three months that his good days had been fewer and he remembers very little. He had said all last week that he did not know her, as she was just one of the nice ladies who came to see him. I wondered tonight where his mind is. Is in the past of good memories of his three little girls playing and running in the backyard or was it in the days of his childhood of the great depression. I wondered if it had gone to some bad times as a soldier. I pondered over his life as a minister. A minister who was not judgemental or rich but just an old timey preacher who loved God. A man who never raised his voice to his children or grandchildren. A man who was giving his last dollar to help someone else and would do without himself to help another. My Daddy was a man who worked for Avon Products in the shipping department for over 30 years to reap $35.00 a month retirement.
I wondered if he went to unpleasant places in his mind or if it was just a jumbled sense of another dimension. I wondered so much tonight and I thought if ever there was someone I should pay a tribute to, it should be that grey haired Daddy of mine who does not remember me.
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My father, Fred Little. never had a great deal of money. He never had a stock option or portfolio. He and my Mother worked for over 30 years to have a nice home and raise their three girls. We were considered middle class in the 60's. My parents worked very hard for that status. They eventually became small business owners of a little drive in restaurant, much like Arnolds on Happy Days. It was called The Tigers Den. The little restaurant did very well for about 4 years until Mama one day just lost her mind IMO and threw everything away and ran away with someone else and broke Daddy and our hearts. We were all grown but we were still heartbroken that she screwed up so badly and she did and had much regret later on in life,
Several years after the 34 year old marriage breakup, Daddy went legally blind over a botched laser surgery and his eyesight never got better. He had several strokes due to high blood pressure but was never heavy. He recovered from his strokes and continued living on his own until 2004 whereas my husband and I took him home with us and cared for him..He actually cared for us in many ways. We made his life as comfortable as possible. Things started changing in 2006.
His early dementia had turned into something else. He was wandering off from his apt. we constructed downstairs. He would tear things up and then hammer in the middle of the night. My sister came over once a week and we had to pratically fight him to take a bath. He started becoming agitated over the smallest things and was dragging in wood from everywhere and constantly building but what it was , was always a mystery. He was happiest when he was listening to his old tapes of his ministry or gospel singing and the loves of his life were the chidlren. He loved those great grand kids. He had helped take care of them most all of their lives. After a visit to the doctor for a checkup, the doctor ordered him into a nursing home. He needed medication and 24 hour supervision as he was given the dreaded diagnosis of Alzheimers. He was more fortunate than many nursing home patients as we were very familar with the home he went into. My relatives on my Mother's side had founded this assisted living home. We could check him out and he can spend time in our own space with us. He just has to be back at a certain time to get meds and checkups. Most of his congregation from the little church is at the home and up until recently, he fit right in there more than anywhere. His long time friend and neighbor was a resident there as well.
I remember so much about my Daddy. He was a lifelong democrat. He absolutely detested George Bush..both of them. He couldn't stand Reagan and basically never forgot the money havoc from the Hoover years. He was an FDR man. He always wanted a union in Avon and Avon the Corporate whore of back then never allowed a Union presence. Not in Ga . anyway.
Daddy was not much of a strong diciplinary figure.. He wasn't big on restrictions. He was opposed to spankings.(My Mother wasn't) and he was not a hollering type. He was a quite spoken man with a good sense of humor. He had been a farmer for years.
He worked in cotton fields and cotton mills up until he became a man who worked for the shipping dept of Avon Products. He worked on the Box line. I adored him. He had the blackest hair and blue eyes and kindest smile. My Mother said to her dying day that he was the best Father a child could have. She knew that he was a very good Daddy in all ways. Not abusvie in any way, shape or form. Her complaint was that he was not a good provider, which if you measured in monetary terms. He wasn't, He would give away his last dollar and I have to admit that could wear on one's nerves as Mother had to fill in on holding to the dollar to make up for Daddy's over generosity.
Tomorrow he will be 88 and his life has been long but it has not been easy. His children adore him. His grandchildren and great grandchildren adore him. His mind is no longer with us anymore and there are not many good days left anymore. He is the best Daddy a child could ask for. He taught me patience (what little I have). He taught me kindness. He taught me laughter. He taught me respect for my fellow man.
He taught me the true meaning of searching for faith. He taught me the gift of gab.
He taught me how to reach out and help people and how to appreciate what I have.
The day we packed and left for Florida, I knew that would probably be the last time I saw my Father. It did not matter if I was 9 miles or 9 million miles away. He didn't know me anymore, I am his favorite I have always been told. That may possibly be true since, everytime I moved during my property management days he was a UHaul behind. I hope his memories or mind is in a safe place. I hope that all he does remember is all the good memories. I hope he never has a bad thought. I wish that for him more than anything else because I don't know where their mind goes and I just can only hope it is in a better reality than most of us deal with. He could not endure the times we are in now. There are some strong realities I just don't think he could handle in today's world. For that I am greatful.
God bless you Daddy. I will always remember you. I will talk with you tomorrow and I hope you remember me one more time.
A video I made almost two years ago in 09. My husband and me are doing all the music and singing in this video. ( was just a little more personal that way)