When Alzheimer strikes
I visited my father yesterday and we had a great time talking, eating lunch and cakes, drinking coffee and a had beer 🙂. At the age of 85 my father has been forced to reinvent his life again after his wife developed Alzheimer 2 years back and is now in a nursing home. It has been a long and hard struggle for both of them, but as time has passed she has transcended into a life of memories that go 60+ years back. My father has had to accept that his wife through 25 years no longer knows who he is, and he has had to reconcile with this reality. It has not been easy nor without pain to deal with this change, but being a man full of love and passion and the fantastic ability to find purpose and joy in even the smallest things he is definitely on his right track again.
When your lifepartner is taken by Alzheimer, then one person you want to share the pain with cannot be there for you. This is one of the really diabolic and nasty sides of this illness. So, in order to accept and embrace the changes that were forced upon him he found that writing letters to her explaining how he felt and reliving their memories helped him deal with the pain and move on. Of course he never sent the letters; but that doesn't matter. The letters were for him.
Three marriages and a life travelling
My father has lived such an interesting life. More than 50 happy years of marriage with 3 wives (not at the same time 😉), he worked in SAS and travelled his entire life and visited most continents, he has lived in Denmark, Italy, France, East Germany, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the US and France.
He moved to Rome, Italy in the 1950's and discovered this strange dish with sauce on bread called a pizza. He loved Rome and the fabulous bachelorlife, with wine, scooters, girls and sun. Later he moved to Los Angeles with his first wife and experienced the United States in a time where Cuba, Kennedy and racial unrest were part of life. Then in 1968 he moved to Uganda with his 2nd wife (my mother) where he first hand (with bullets flying all around him in Kampala International Airport) witnessed Idi Amin taking over the country in a bloody military coup. He later moved to Kenya and to Tanzania, where I was born. After a couple of years in Denmark from 1974-'77 we moved to East Berlin during the hight of the cold war. Crossing Checkpoint Charlie daily bring me and my older sister to school in West Berlin we heard and saw borderguards shooting East Germans who were trying to flee the Soviet-controlled GDR. In 1982 we moved back to Copenhagen, and here he lived, devorded, and remarried until he and his 3rd wife moved to Provence in South France in 1994. Here they lived for 10 years. In 2004 - now being grandparents for the 11. time, they moved back and bought the house where he lives today.
Having been back in Denmark for the last 16 years living in his house in the forest surrounded by sounds from the birds, deer, squirrels and so much more, and he just finished writing the story of his life so his legacy is kept and remembered for his family
The thinking man
At the age of 85 he still brings in perspectives that prove a mind that is present, sharp, curious, knowing, thinking and full of wit. I love visiting him and just sit in his garden and talk and also enjoy the pauses where we just listen to nature. During my own life I have often seen him as stubborn and hard to convince of the glory of new thing 😃I must however admit that it was probably not only him that was stubborn. I know and feel privileged that I have so much of him in me, and I hope I will have the same positivity and joy of life when I'm 85.