Personal Essay: A Defining Moment With Dad

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A Defining Moment with Dad

My father is a gentle and polite person with an impressive career and decorated sporting background. However, he has had to endure a form of early onset dementia for well over a decade. His prime caregiver is my mother, who we believe has managed to slow my father 's deterioration by keeping him mentally stimulated with a pre-arranged activity every day of the week. Of course, this strategy also cares for my mother, as it gives here peace of mind that my father has a reason to get up each day. Just as importantly, it buys her valuable personal time to do something for herself.

But each time the deterioration reveals another unexpected issue to face, my mother 's determination becomes threatened, and needs
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I would build him a wood shed that would help him with his continuing sense of responsibility to cut and store firewood. In 'true-blue ' father and son style, our joint work would create a bond that opened a moment of reflection that I could treasure forever. Well, we did occasionally work together, but dad 's attention and physical ability wavered, and after a few minutes I would find him returning to his sun couch or sitting inside staring into space. Maybe there were moments where I felt a subtle bond, but I soon realized that my expectations were unrealistic.

Meanwhile, I cooked, cleaned and answered hundreds of questions such as 'where does this go ', 'will I take the rubbish out ' and 'when did you say you were leaving? ' Each day I saw every channel of television news viewed back to back. I realized that without a reminder the same pair of underpants can be worn an infinite number of times, and that best clothes can be worn to mow the lawn and clothes covered in stains can be worn out to dinner. I witnessed my washed t-shirt return covered in white blotches, and realized there was no distinction made between the box of detergent and the bottle of

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