Saturday, February 6, 2010

Good Grief - Word Association

*This post would best be viewed on the blog. If you're getting this in the e-mail updates, please click on the link to go directly to the blog:

I think most of you know that my Dad, who is only 59 yrs old, is in the late stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Watching a loved one slowly slip away from you emotionally and cognitively while they remain (for the most part) physically intact creates a very difficult and unique grieving process. In reality, the amazing man who raised me is already gone and has been gone for quite some time. I mean sure - there's an unresponsive, agitated, incontinent, grumpy, anxious, weird-smelling, detached man who essentially looks exactly like the man who raised me - but trust me, that is NOT the man who raised me. However, I'm finding it harder and harder to remember that amazing man who was my father and instead when I think of my Dad, I first think of THIS difficult person. And that is my greatest fear - that all of my wonderful childhood memories will slowly be replaced with memories of this person that Alzheimer's Disease has left us with. And I had a pretty kick-ass childhood in great part because I had such a kick-ass Dad (and Mom too)!! I don't want to forget that.

So when I discovered the Good Grief blog - a scrapbooking journey through loss and healing - and their scrapbooking challenges related to helping you scrapbook and journal about a loved one you have lost, I decided this might be just what I need to help me deal with the roller coaster of emotions I am experiencing as I watch my father quickly decline. And hopefully, this will help me hold on to more of those happy memories and not dwell so much on what's happening now. And yeah, I realize technically my Dad isn't DEAD, but for all intents and purposes my Dad is already gone, ya know?

So anyway, I hope you all are OK with me sharing my Good Grief creations here every now and then. These will be my "Therapeutic Posts"! LOL. So here goes my first Good Grief Challenge...

February's challenge is to Use Word Association. That's it. Open to plenty of interpretation. Here's my digital layout (click on the layout to view it larger if you'd like to read the journaling):

Of course, these aren't the only things that made my Dad who he was - but the smaller words / phrases are more like little "memory joggers" for me - each of them tells a story from my childhood, each special and significant in it's own way - some funny, some poignant and some just very specific memories I want to hold onto.

If anyone has anything else they'd like to add or any words/ phrases they think I forgot, please comment here and let me know. This blog is in itself a type of journal - so if you knew my Dad "before" (because that's the way we think now - in terms of "before" Alzheimer's and "after" Alzheimer's - it sucks), what words/phrases would you associate with him? Or just feel free to share a special or funny memory of my Dad.


jac said...

Love you Jen! That post just makes my heart hurt cause we miss him too. The word that comes to my mind is "chivarous" cause he was the most polite and had the best manners of any in our bunch. He always opened the doors and made sure that everyone was there when we reached our destination. We've had some great travels together.

Lynnie said...

Hi Jen...although we have only known Eddie for about 8 or 9 years, the words that come to mind for us are 'soft spoken' and 'good natured'. We both liked your Dad from the first time we met him. We miss the Eddie we knew then.
Lynn and My