Friday, August 1, 2008

A Time to Mourn

I know I have been rather conspicuous by my absence this past month. And I must say a big thank you to Graham for doing all my card drops in my absence. I know there are many unanswered messages, recommendations and other emails I have not replied to.

We were supposed to leave for New Zealand a month ago and here we are still in Durban.

When I returned to South Africa from New Zealand a year and a half ago to be with my elderly parents. My dad, who at 85 was still active and independent, driving his own car, and going for walks on the beach every day, started showing signs of Alzheimer's disease.

Within 3 months of returning to SA he was no longer able to drive and started suffering from other ailments like heart disease and prostrate cancer as well. He took a turn for the worse just before we were supposed to fly out and we postponed the trip as I was worried I would never see him again.

After a scare and a week in intensive care he seemed to recover well but my mom was not longer able to provide him with the care he needed and had to place him in an Alzheimer's clinic where he could receive proper treatment.

It was hard to visit him as he no longer recognised us and even got a bit aggressive when my mom touched him and told her to leave him alone. I could not believe the rapid deterioration in so short a time.

Sadly he passed away shortly after being admitted, I was devastated as we were a very close family. Fortunately my younger sisters have rallied to help take care of my mom and I will finally be flying out to NZ on Tuesday.

I had heard that Alzheimer's patients can live for a long time with the proper treatment and care but the speed with with which it incapacitated my dad was unbelievable.

I feel terrible leaving my mom behind but I also have to spend time with my daughter and grand children. I know my mom is in good hands with my sisters and feel torn between her and my kids. When your family are twenty thousand kilometers apart and your grand children are growing up not knowing their grandmother then it is just as difficult to decide where you have to be.

As a result of this I have done very little painting and even less blogging. To the EC community who have continued to drop on my site and leave your wonderful comments, my apologies for seeming like I don't care and my heartfelt thanks for your support.

I have a painting or two that I will try and post tomorrow, I am not sure when I will be online in NZ so if I disappear for a week or so its simply because I am trying to get set up on the other side.
Caroline

18 comments:

Janet Campbell said...

My heart goes out to you and you will be in my prayers.
God Bless
Janet

Dolly's Diary said...

Hi Caroline,
I wanted to say I am sorry for your loss and what you went through. My mother passed away in January because of the effects of a stroke. I also lost my mother in law two months ago to lung cancer. I know the pain you felt watching them fade away. Take solice in knowing that your father was spared suffering for too long and I am sure he is at peace in God's
hands now.
Take Care,
Janet :)

Margaret said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your father. I hope your visit to NZ brings you to healing's door and gives you peace. Have a safe trip and return to us soon! We will miss your lovely work

Margaret

Amy Lilley Designs said...

Your title is so appropriate...I am so deeply sorry about the loss of you Dad...and as you said, such a quick deterioration. I will certainly be keeping you and your 'spread all over the world', family in my thoughts and prayers. Your post was beautiful and I'm certain the the community will rally around you...

blessings,
Amy

BK said...

It is good to hear from you again and will look forward to seeing your new paintings. It is hard to decide at time where one should be especially when both side are people so close to our hearts. Your mother will be able to understand. Hope you have a smooth flight to NZ.

Stine said...

So sorry for your loss. All the best to you and your family, both in NZ and in SA...

carol said...

I am sorry to hear about your father's death. No matter how old we daughters are , we are still to young to lose a parent.

Lynne said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. Family is such a wonderful and special thing, it sounds like yours is extra special. Take care and I look forward to seeing your work.

Ms. Orange said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, my condolences and prayers. Please have a safe trip.

A. said...

I do feel for you. My mother died three months ago from a cancer which affected her brain. I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

Christy DeKoning said...

Caroline, I am so so sorry to read of your loss. Our family went through similar circumstances this year when my Mom became sick in February, was diagnosed with terminal cancer with about 5 months to live, and then only survived 5 short weeks (despite her incredible will and struggle to live!)
When you are in the minority, and your loved ones survive LESS than what the doctors predict, it is so very hard to come to terms with. I feel for you and your family, and understand how difficult it can be to carry on. For me, the real sadness hit me just this last month.
May peace be with you and have a safe journey home to NZ.
Christy

Carol said...

So sorry to hear about your father. I lost mine to Alzheimer's a few years ago and now Mother is showing signs/being evaluated. It's a terrible thing.

Artbeat said...

To Janet Campbell, Janet Gardner,Margaret, Amy,BK, stine, Carol, Lynn, MS Orange, A Christy & Durano.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers during a difficult time, It is truly wonderful to know I have friends from the four corners of the earth who care.

Your thoughts and kind words meant the world to me and certainly helped with the healing process.

From the bottom of my heart thank you all for your support and kindness.

The Mommy and Me Boutique said...

I am so sorry to hear about the sorrows in your family. Loosing a parents is quite difficult. I certainly understand the delay in your response. I am so pleased for the opportunity to post you on my blog. I so admire your work. I have a feature set up for September so lets look to October. I am sending you my e-mail as I would rather chat back and forth by e-mail if you would be comfortable with this. (Or if you are on Etsy .com) Looking forward to chatting. mommyandme@syix.com

SueEllenCowan said...

Caroline, I have not been active on the computer for a while due to connectivity problems and was saddened by your news. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Take your time to mourn as we will all still be here when you return to your artwork.

Layne | Reward Rebel said...

I'll never forget the stricken look on my mother's face when I accompanied her to visit her own mother, who suffered Alzheimer's, and Nan didn't know who we were - it felt like I was witnessing mum's heart breaking.

My condolences on the loss of your father, he's now at peace, and I hope and pray that you find some. I also wish you strength at a time when you are questioning where and with whom you should be spending your time. All the best to you. xx

Random Ramblings said...

sorry to hear about your father. i live with my father and mother has died already 10 years ago. i love him so much. i understand where you are coming from...

Cy said...

Lovely blog and happy to support you in this difficult time. We'll be glad when your back full force. You are in our prayers.