No Matter How Old She May Be, Sometimes a Girl Just Needs Her Dad

No Matter How Old She May Be, Sometimes a Girl Just Needs Her Dad

My dad was the best!

When I was a little girl my dad was very hands-on.  He read me bedtime stories, taught me how to ride a bike, swim, throw a ball and eventually taught me how to drive (that was rough!).  And of course, he was very protective when it came to boys! The best day ever was when he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.

He knew every answer to my homework and sat very patiently while I cried struggling to complete my math. My dad was always the calm, cool, and patient guy with a silly sense of humor. He was strong and protected our family.

You are probably wondering why I have been referring to my Dad in the past. My dad is still here and with us, but in 2015, a month after he turned 65 he was diagnosed with Frontal Lobe Dementia and is now full care. 

I am the oldest of three and have an amazing relationship with my parents, and always have. We are very close. I spent five months on leave from work to help my mom care for my dad which was very tough. In that time I really made it count. I would spend 10 – 12 hours a day with my dad and slept over twice per week. During this time our close relationship grew even stronger….but in a different way. We spent time watching his favorite movies and we listened to his favorite music while dancing (he loves music, and absolutely loved to dance!) 

My dad can no longer walk, and only sometimes answers to “daddy” or “Gunter”.  He needs to be fed, bathed and briefed. All daily care needs to be provided with 4 visits a day by 2 PSWs at a time. He still has a great sense of humor, even if it is laughing at funeral commercials! Kids and animals make him happy, and sometimes we catch him smiling and saying “hello there!” when they come across the TV. I still catch him staring at my mother with a smile. That makes me happy.

It’s not an easy thing to go through; I miss my Dad every day. I don’t remember the last conversation we had, I can’t remember the last time I drove him around singing Fleetwood Mac at the top of our lungs while he played the drums on his knees, while tapping his feet. We both love to listen to our music loud! I simply wish sometimes he could tell me how proud he is of me, and that everything is going to be okay.

I take this time to enjoy my dad as he is here now. I joke and laugh with him just like we always did. We whistle together and still listen to music loud while I move his arms around as he sits in his chair. I love having dinner dates with him – even though I sometimes grab from his plate and not my own. I love feeding him his favorite ice cream, black cherry, and of course giving him chocolate. It makes me smile to see his eyes still brighten to his favorite sweets.

They say you grieve every day when you have a loved one suffering from dementia.  It is absolutely true. Having a strong supportive circle is what you need, and I have that.  I am very thankful.

Just a reminder: take the time to do fun things, enjoy the little things and appreciate the very small and you will never regret it. Because, no matter how old I may be, sometimes a girl just needs her Daddy.

~ Crystal Leopold-Chartrand, Recruiter – Plan A Sudbury

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