Last week I was helping my Dad get ready for bed when something amazing happened. There was nothing special about that night or even the day that preceded it. Just a daughter helping her Father take off his glasses, watch and slippers before sliding under the sheets and laying his head on the pillow.
On this night, he turned to me and said, “Thank you very much. This is not something I would have you do if I could do it.”
My Father has always been quick to express his gratitude. He thanks me for everything, from medicine and tissues to meals and helping him to bed. But this was different. It was a spoken acknowledgement that he was in a place of dependency, a place he never planned to be. It wasn’t what he wanted – for others to wait on him hand and foot because he could no longer do things for himself. But he was so grateful. It was like he understood the sacrifice and was thanking me for it.
It was as if heaven opened up and dropped a gem into my lap.
Sometimes we need to hear things. And sometimes we need to say things. Because every single one of us has something to say. From the spotlight seekers and attention getters to the quiet and the shy who long to hide themselves away and disappear. Every person has something to say.
People with Alzheimer’s have something to say but many times they can’t say it because that part of their brain has stopped working. They may appear to be quiet. But they are not blank slates or hollow persons. They still possess dreams, thoughts and ideas.
And last week, I was given a gift when my Father was able to put his thoughts into words.
I knew it was a special moment when it happened and as I stood there listening to him express his heart to me, I said the only thing that came to my mind.
“It’s an honor for me to help you Dad.”
And it is.