Skip to main content

The Long Goodbye: A Sad Relief

After months of doing, on a daily basis, what would wear-out the average person in a few days, my dad has agreed that he needs full-time help caring for my mom. I knew this day would eventually come. He would be so physically and emotionally drained that even unconditional love wouldn't be able to sustain him while doing the job on his own. I just didn't know it would be today. As worried as I was for my dad's stress level, depression that caregivers often suffer, and grief, I never realized how devastated I would be when "defeat" was finally admitted. 

Alzheimer's books, support groups, web pages, and many other resources talk about how to know when to get full time help for your loved one. I literally thought something would fall out of the sky and hit my dad on the forehead. That he would wake up one day, without any doubts, and say it was time. It didn't work that way. There were nights I would call home to check in and he and mom would be cuddled in bed together watching the Gaither Vocal Band (my dad's favorite music EVER). He would be singing to her, both of them crying, and he would tell her how sad he was that their time was going by so quickly. My sister witnessed several occasions similar to this, as well. It is like grieving the loss, while still holding, hugging, kissing that person. Saying a final goodbye while they can say theirs back to you. Maybe this was his way of making his peace with his decision. To make sure she knew just how much he loved her before he relinquished his role as her sole caregiver. 

This past week it seemed as though he withdrew a little more, he left her at home each morning, whereas he usually takes her with him everywhere he goes. My sister would find her half-dressed and extremely confused. One day, my sister found my mom undressed and looking for my dad. My sister helped Mom get dressed and settled. When she walked downstairs after helping my mom, my sister found my dad sitting in the den, on the couch, staring. It was time. He called both my aunts, his sister and Mom's sister, to tell them it was time.

Sometimes I feel like we are giving up on her. She still knows us. What if she thinks we have left her and aren't coming back? What if there is a miracle breakthrough that cures Alzheimer's and upon being cured she hates us for leaving her? What if she eventually prefers the person who helps care for her more than she prefers her husband and children? Of course, my fears are human and irrational. Admitting my problem is step one, calming my fears and adopting an Eternal perspective about my mom's disease is something I am and will have to work on the rest of my life.

I posted two of my dad's favorite songs the Gaither Vocal Band songs. They make me cry.


  1. Mary Virgina, I found your blog on Linds' list and have been keeping up with it. Thus, the Rosny-sous-Bois France that you find on your visitor tracker. :) I enjoy reading your words! I'm thinking of you as your family endures the new circumstances. Also, I thought it was so stinkin' cute that Piper kept licking her hand and wiping down the little baby's hair. I think I might be a Palin fan, but it makes me a little sad to think that she would be taking on the world while her little baby grows up with Downs Syndrome. I think that's my only issue with her...Wow, this is long! Just wanted to say hey and I enjoy your blog!


Post a Comment

Past Posts

Mary Grace

At 2:00 am this morning, our sweet Mary Grace was welcomed to Heaven. We found out this afternoon that she had a large brain hemorrhage. Reid and I spent three precious hours holding our daughter tonight. The nurses wrapped a pink bow around her little head and we swaddled her in a soft pink elephant blanket. During those hours, we told Mary Grace how proud we were of her fight, how she fulfilled our dreams of one day having a daughter to call "Gracie," and we even took a little nap, snuggled together as a family. If we told her we loved her once, we told her a thousand times. We prayed over her and gave her back to the Lord. We miss her more than words can say. I feel like we were punched in the stomach today and left with the wind knocked out of our lungs. Its so hard to understand "why?" in all of this. Tonight when we left the hospital, Reid turned on this song by David Crowder Band and we listened to it on repeat the whole way home. Its the exact state of our

One day at a time

For the first time in my life I feel like I'm truly living one day at a time. Reid and I had a pretty good day yesterday. We were able to sleep in which was wonderful. Reid made us lunch and we sat outside in the backyard. It was a beautiful day and being outside did a lot of good for my mental health. :) There were still a lot of hard moments as memories from the night before would come rushing back to mind. We miss our sweet babies so much. Olivia had a good day yesterday. It was uneventful (which is a very good thing in the NICU) and they were able to turn down some of her medicine. We call every morning to check on our sweet girl and her nurse was quick to tell us how feisty our daughter is. We picked up on that in her first day of life, but it was funny to hear that someone else had observed the same. We are so in love with our feisty little Olivia. After we left the hospital, Reid and I went on a dinner date. It was so good for us to get out and feel like we

Madelyn Barrett

I really don't even know where to begin or how to write this post. I've put it off for several days hoping that maybe if I let things sink in a little more it would be easy. This will never be easy. As you know, we welcomed three beautiful little girls into the world on Friday afternoon. We had hoped to continue to "buy time" and hold off on delivery for several more weeks. God has always had a plan much bigger than either Reid or I could ever imagine. I have to chose to believe, everyday, that somehow this all fits perfectly into that plan. We knew from the time of her delivery that Madelyn was struggling the most. The circumstances surrounding her birth caused a lot of trauma to her tiny body. After a day of fighting for a positive outcome, the neonatologist came to visit with us and told us it was time to let her go. Late Saturday night we went to the NICU to hold our precious baby for the first and last time. She was absolutely perfect and looked just like h


God has blessed our family with quite a surprise! Olivia is getting a little brother or sister in early December. We are thrilled! As of today I am nine weeks along. We went to the doctor several weeks ago and were able to see the tiny bundle and hear the heartbeat. Everything looks great and we are so thankful! I'll share more details in the next few weeks. :)

The babies are here!

Friends and Family, Late this afternoon we became the proud parents of three little girls. Madelyn Barrett: 1 pound Olivia Bain: 1 pound, 5 ounces Mary Grace: 1 pound, 10 ounces The babies are stable in the NICU  tonight and we are hopeful that God is going to move mountains as they grow and thrive. Madelyn's (Baby B) amniotic sac ruptured on Sunday night. We had a sonogram done each day this week to check her heart beat, fluid level, and position. The doctors told us Friday morning that she was not likely to make it and that delivering her was not an option as it put too much risk on Mary Grace and Olivia. Once again, we were told to wait and see. Around 4:30 Friday afternoon I delivered Madelyn. The NICU team was here immediately to begin working on her. When the doctor checked on the status of the other girls, he saw signs of infection and he immediately performed an emergency c-section to deliver Mary Grace and Olivia. We have seen the Lord's mercy through each to