Why, Helen, I Didn't Know

Why Helen, I didn't know you were coming 


In the spring of 2001, my (John's) parents came to live with Geri and I. My father had become increasingly gripped by Alzheimer's and his diabetes would cause infections to exacerbate his confusion. Mom could no longer handle him on his own and no one wanted to use a nursing home if it could be avoided. 

Geri was very gracious since this would be an extra burden for her, but we felt it a duty to family. My siblings all would have gladly taken on the task, but our home and situation made us the best choice. 

Mom and dad settled in pretty well, they had a section of the house in Highland Village, TX that contained two room connected to a bathroom in between (known as Jack and Jill Suites by many in real estate). We had a hospital bed brought in for dad and mom had her own bed in the other room. Because this section of the house was not ideal, we were having one built in Krugerville, TX. This was due to being their suite being three steps lower than most of the rest of the house. This meant they had to go up three steps to living room and then down three steps to dining area and dad was on a walker by this time.For the months of May and June, dad seemed to be doing okay, but he did have problems remembering things especially who I was. Often, at night, when I went to see what he wanted ( there was a baby monitor, Geri and I used to monitor him and we took turns attending him) he would ask me who I was and how I fit into the household. 

By early July, he no longer knew who I was and only really recognized my mother and we knew he was beginning to fail rapidly. I called my siblings and since I had no timeline, suggested that Steve and Warren wait a week or so, but that Helen (a school teacher on summer break) could come see dad. In retrospect, I wish I had just told them all to come as you will discover later in the story. 

We had engaged Hospice on Dr. Patel's orders and the nurse was to come the same day that my sister was to arrive. This was the 24th of July and I had to pick Helen up very early in the AM  from the airport. On our way back to the house, I prepared her for the shock that he probably wouldn't know her and was by now essentially bed ridden. I also told her that the nurse would be there at 1:00. 

As we entered the house, Helen went straight to dad's room and I heard him exclaim; "Why Helen, I didn't know you were coming!"  Go figure. 

Later that day, the nurse prepared us for the eventuality that he only had a week or so left. After she left, we put dad to bed and the rest of us either napped or found something to do. After an hour or so Geri came into the computer room (one of the bedrooms was used for the computer and printer) and said she hadn't heard anything from dad for awhile and she was going to check on him. She returned almost right away and stated; "He's gone." He had peacefully died in his sleep, what a blessing.

I'm glad Helen got there in time for his last lucid moment and I wish our brothers could have as well. 


Davdan @ 2008-2018