Friday, January 16, 2009

Forget me not - thoughts about my dad

January is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and Nova Scotia garden writer Jodi DeLong has written an excellent post about it here.

For me, what she said couldn't be more timely. I mentioned in December that my father was very ill and in hospital. He died shortly after Christmas, after having Alzheimer's disease for 15 years. In some ways, he was lucky that the course of his disease turned his personality from a driven, impatient, striving man to that of child-like person with an endless appreciation of the good things in life.

He loved to sit in his small townhouse garden and marvel at the beauty that surrounded him. "What a beautiful garden we have," he would tell my mother daily from spring to fall. He was proud of his children and enjoyed his grandchilden. He was appreciative of the loving care he received from my mother, and he thanked her all the time: "You are such a good woman," he would say. She cared for him with patience that knew few bounds.

My father was sick in hospital for only three weeks from complications of other medical problems. We all feel that he was fortunate not to have to go into a nursing home. Amazingly, at 81 his Alzheimer's had not progressed to the point that most patients get to: not even recognizing their families. The last time I saw him, he was still able to count down the names of all his six children. (I'm the eldest.)

My Dad looking contented, relaxing in his garden in Sept. 2006

Thanks, Jodi, for your post. I didn't quite know how to write about my father. It seemed too personal to share in a gardening blog, but you gave me an opening.
© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener


  1. Oh Yvonne, out of a sad story you brought a feeling of warmth and love. Your father is a doll!! I'm glad he got to slow down and say the things he really wanted to say, even though it was 'forced' on him. He didn't forget his family, and I know you wont forget him.
    Thanks for sharing this post.

  2. Thank you, Eve. My mother often said that my father appeared so happy despite the Alzheimer's because he didn't have a worry in the world. (You can see that quality in the picture I posted.) Of course, it was my mother who managed everything in their lives. She's amazing, and still very capable at 81.

  3. Yvonne, the most difficult thing in life is to say good-bye to a loved one.
    Some say that time heals....I don't know.
    Maybe you learn to live with it - as the way life is! Yesterday was the 21st anniversary for my father's passing - it doesn't make me cry much anymore, but I still talk to him every day and miss him
    a lot.
    I hope that you and your family will find peace in remembering and celebrating the life he shared with you.

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  5. Hi Salix: Thank you for your kind words. My mother read my blog, and she wrote: "I just can't be sad about father's passing. It is rather serene and peaceful to know his suffering is over and he is in a better world." I feel as my mother does, but the loss of a parent or spouse is much harder to bear when they die at an early age, and unexpectly. All the best to you, Yvonne

    PS: Blogger put your comment in twice for some weird reason, so I took out the second one.


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-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener