How Dementia Dealt With Us

I started writing this piece when me and my sister took care of our apa, in the throes of the battle against Dementia. It is a cruel disease. It provoked my apa to try to do things he could no longer do. Then when he tried and failed he was angry, because while his mind had him wandering around in his past he was strong and vibrant again. My sister and I could only watch him from the outside of that prison, dementia would lock him in. Every time we reached in to help our apa, he would pull us in and we felt that our father was against us.

For us, sundown was synonymous to confusion and anxiety. as dementia lurked in the shadows. Pero, aveces we managed to redirect our apa and dementia would scurry away, then we’d get confident that it was going to be a peaceful night and we’d let our guard down. On those days, Dementia took advantage of us all.


When are you taking me home?

Apa, you are home

Que? This is not my home

You think I’m stupid?

Where’s my wallet?

Where’s my keys?

They’re in your pocket

 Ya vamonos!

Where’s Lupe?

She died last year

Que? I saw her last night

I must be losing my mind

Where’s my mother?

She died a long time ago

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Que memoria!

Where’s my wallet?

Where’s my keys?

They’re in your pocket

Ya Estoy listo

Where’s my car?

I can’t see my car

Apa, It’s right outside 

Y mis llaves?

Tell me about your family?

Your husband repairs tires?

My husband paints houses

How’s the tire business?

When are you taking me home?

I brought you home apa

Don’t you recognize the pictures?

Estas loca, Take me home. 

En Conclusíon

Aging was hard to see and deal with for sure. I hated seeing my father so fragile, it was unnatural to my “little girl” heart. Y, our own bodies were feeling a touch of that aging as fatigue enveloped us while we attended to apa. Aparte, the demencia, waited to pounce. It was a prison closing in on my apa. We learned to recognize the moments of clarity and enjoy his stories. Y tambien, we did learn to recognize when the tornadoes of confusion were approaching. Sometimes they pulled us in and we were exhausted. On other occasions we managed to avoid the chaos that demencia brought. On those days, we watched our apa in the midst of battle from the outside. Confusion, frustration and anger brought us to tears as we fought to un-tie our hands and help him.

Now as I look back, puedo ver mejor. I wish I could say, we won! We kicked that devil to the curb y apachurramos al diablo! I wanted his strength and mind to return, and see my apa whole again. Despite his frailty he stayed and fought. De repente, the faith and knowledge of God that our apa carried in his mind for 93 years, flooded his heart. De veras. At 94, 95, and touching 96 years of age when he walked through his darkest valley, he did call out to God, I had never really seen his faith revealed in such a manner. In the darkness God was with him and he knew it. God was with us too, through it all, that is how we managed, his name is God With Us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s