Daddies are a huge influence on their daughters. The value that Jerry placed on his girls, I believe, contributed to their self worth. He was an honorable man and they married honorable men as well. My girls always have had a very close relationship with their dad. Yesterday, during church, we sat Jerry in between Amanda and I. As the music played I saw Amanda reach over and hold her daddy’s hand. It was his right hand, the one that doesn’t work. I watched as she sang. I also watched as Jerry’s big blues searched the screen for the words to sing, yet couldn’t find them. His heart and mind were filled with song, though, as the orchestra played. Holding Jerry’s hand, Amanda said, “it trembles”. Amanda is our oldest daughter and when she was a little girl, she adored her dad. He was a tall, handsome, business man who took care of his family. He was her hero. When she got old enough, around five, he took her to work with him to call on some of his clients. The story I heard from that day, was that she got left behind in the elevator. Funny! When she was around 14, she spent two weeks working in Jerry’s office. Amanda was an avid reader, had a good head on her shoulders and was very articulate in engaging with adults. She and Jerry would spend hours talking about history and politics.
When Jerry, first, became ill, Amanda didn’t know how to handle it. (none of us did.) My particular coping skill is to face it head on and dive into research and training. Grab the bull by the horns, so to speak. Her’s was anger and denial. I remember asking her to attend a play about someone with Alzheimer disease. She wouldn’t go. We all handle grief in such different ways and we all are entitled to process grief without judgement from others. I understand that now.
Since we live 2 hours away, the girls only see their dad about once a month. It actually works out pretty good because they are not involved in the daily caregiving, but they are close enough to still be a part of each other’s lives as we all travel this journey together. Those precious moments, the holding of the hand, the sharing of a parade, the grandson in the lap...all are moments not to be missed. Jerry still continues to be a positive influence on our children as he faces this disease. Even though much of the time, he doesn’t realize there is anything wrong with him, there are still many moments when he realizes that he is sick. Those moments are the brave ones. Yet, he handles them with courage and in a heroic way.
He is still a hero to her.