Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A wonderful man

My father in law was a great guy. He came to this country when he was 7. He did everything for his family. Sometimes he went without so they would have a nice life. He had three boys and a wife that also lived a very nice life. I never got to meet my mother in law. She passed away when my husband was 18. To this day, that still makes me sad. I have heard so many stories about how great she was but never got to experience it first hand. They did a great job raising their children. They are all successful.

My Father in law on the right.

My father in law always treated me like a daughter. He always had great advice. He always had the best stories. He was very active and loved to be out and about. I am guessing that was to collect more stories for us. He could turn the most simple story into something great. I guess it is all in the way you tell it. He was hysterical. He was always helpful and was the kind of man that would do anything for anybody. Everybody knew who he was.

In his late sixties he decided to move to Florida. He would come and stay with my husband and I during the summer. During this time he met a woman in her forties. No it was not Love and it is too long of a story to get into now. They ended up getting married. It lasted about a year. She was not in it for the right reasons and wanted my father in law to move to Chicago. He didn't like the cold weather at all. I am glad he was stubborn and would not move. That would have been a disaster. He was heartbroken though.

About a year or two later he started to go downhill.  My brother in law called me and told me I need to go to Florida and take care of a situation. Did I mention I was the only girl in the family? Neither of my brother in laws were married at the time and they all had to work. I was home with my 2 daughters and pregnant with my third child. We were all concerned because he went out and bought three cars in one weekend. It was not like him. He was starting to act odd. He also had another 40 something year old on his heels who was trying to scam him. My mission was to go down there and take care of the situation and bring him back. It took about a week to wrap everything up. Yes I did call the 40 year old and tell her off and told her to never contact him. My father in law was mad at me. Again, so not like him. He started to become snappish at times.

I brought him to my house to live with us. He was very forgetful. We knew something was wrong. I had to do everything for him. It is very hard when someone you know and love used to be so active. We thought it might be Alzheimer's. We were bringing him in for testing

Every day I would set up the bathroom for him to take a bath. I would lay out his clothes and put a towel on top and fill the tub and make sure everything was within reach. I wasn't sure if he would remember how to use everything such as shampoo etc. I would talk to him and remind him what everything was for. I don't know if it worked or not because obviously I wasn't in there with him. I wonder if he ever did use the shampoo.

We set up a doctors appointment for him at a testing center. We were all going. My two brother in laws, my husband and myself. I made him his breakfast and went to get his bath ready. I was in a rush that day because we would be gone all day. I had a sitter and I had to get everything ready for the kids too.
My father in law seemed to be taking a long time in the bath. Longer than normal. He came out and everything looked fine. He had his shirt on the right way etc. We get to the testing site and they have us in a conference room. They take my father in law down the hall. He went to pull open a door and his pants fall down. Oh no I forgot a belt! What was even more alarming was the fact that he looked like he had black tights on. What the heck? My brother in laws are laughing. "Dad, what do you have on?" He said "I don't know." They were my leggings. I must have put them in his pile in my rush to get him ready. No wonder the poor guy took so long in the bathroom. He was wondering what the heck to do with them. I can only imagine how long it took him to get them on.

After his diagnosis of Alzheimer's he started to have mini strokes. He needed to go to a medical facility. I could no longer take care of him. I have to say, taking care of him was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Not just the physical work but the emotional toll it takes on you. Watching someone so vibrant and full of stories just deteriorate like that is devastating. He passed away years ago. We still remember him for his vibrancy not the illness that got him in the end.

My dad is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. He is on medication and I am hoping it helps. I know I am in for another bumpy ride.


  1. Oh my how heartbreaking. My brothers have walked away and left me alone to care for my elderly father. He is in a nursing home full time now. He is unable to walk and is in a wheel chair. Sunday he was rushed to the hospital. He had such infected bed sores they had to operate to remove dead skin. It's so hard because I can't be there 24 hours a day to make sure he is getting cared for properly. You will be in my prayers as you take care of your father.

    1. That must be really hard on you! i am sorry to hear that! We had a few incidents as well when he was in the nursing home. Almost makes you dread getting old. Thank you Kathe you will be in my prayers as well.