This week has been a tough one for me both emotionally and physically. My papa has been battling Alzheimer’s for 12 years now. This past weekend he was in the hospital due to back pain, and after he came home, it was pretty clear he needed additional help to get around while we got his pain under control. Because of this, I stayed with them for most of the week, being his main caregiver at night.
The range of emotions that I’ve run through has been incredible. After years of only seeing him a few times a year, being involved in his daily life is staggering to me. The sheer emotional toll that it takes on you to care for a person you once thought was invincible is more than I ever thought it would be. I’ve run the gamut from sadness at seeing him where he is now, to grateful that he still somewhat recognizes me, to simply being overwhelmed at all of the daily tasks that his caregivers handle.
But above all else, I know that this is something I need to do, not just because he’s family, but because he’s my papa. He’s the one who spoiled us rotten when we were little and made sure the grass was softer and thicker than anyone else’s in the neighborhood so the kids could run barefoot on it. He’s the one who helped nurture my love of history and had endless conversations with me about World War II and Elizabethan England. And he’s the one who could always be counted on to be there for all the moments, big and small. Now is the time for me to be there for him.