the Sadman

Sad man

I was talking to my sister tonight about our father.

We’ve both come to the same conclusion: He’s sad; intensely sad.

He can’t verbalize that to us it’s just something we feel inside whenever we go to see him. He’s at a current stage of the disease that I would classify as the “point of no return”.
For all we know, that plateau could have been reached months ago, maybe years ago; there’s no definitive way for us to know.
Frustration deluxe.
Make that a double please.

My sister and I have grown tired of the one-sided conversations that never seem to go anywhere. But we understand that they accompany the disease; we saw it with my mother and now our brains want to somehow disconnect.
I wish there were someway to reach him, to tell him about the weather or the All-Star game, to say a final goodbye and know that he somehow “gets it”.

I can’t possibly imagine of another ten years of this madness, not only for him but for my sister and me.
Please hand me the white straitjacket. And a double.

I’m listening to the Concord Symphony by Charles Ives as I write this and I’m smiling, simply because I associate Ives music with my father’s muddled and bewildering state of mind; a brain overflowing with dying neurons, dissonant tangles and the persistent plaques solely responsible for the glowing funhouse now raging in his head.

I wish I could turn it all off for him as easily as I can “pause” my Ipod Nano.
But I can’t.

I still can’t believe this is God’s plan nor do I believe in the people that say to me, “It’s all in His plan.”
That’s the ultimate in bullshit.

My dad continues to stand all alone in the pouring rain as I continue my futile search for a decent umbrella that doesn’t exist.

Maybe someday the sun will shine.

Yeah, right…




14 thoughts on “the Sadman

  1. I don’t know what to say. All words of encouragement or sympathy ring hollow. It can be a cruel world and nobody gets out alive. I send my best wishes your way in any case. You seem to be a strong man with a good sense of priority so I have no doubt that you will escape the straight jacket. Stay strong and be ready for the sun if and when it comes from behind the cloud.

    You just said all you needed to say, Fuzz.
    You are a very good friend…
    I thank you for caring enough to comment.
    It means much.



  2. Michael,
    I don’t know about it being His plan or just life. It seems the stronger you are the more life wants to throw at you. Then you have the choice of catching it, letting it hit you and fall or passing it on to somebody else like a hot potato.

    You have risen to the challenge and as futile as it is for you, for you to do otherwise just isn’t part of your make up.

    Yeah buddy have a double – listen to some music. Tomorrow one of your beautiful kids will smile at you and get you in that place reserved just for them and life will indeed be good.

    Your dad knows you’re there. I’m sure of it. You are the thread that connects him to the universe. Whether it’s for another 10 years or 10 minutes – your presence matters.

    Keep your heart open and write the truth. It’s what you were meant to do.


    Thanks, Annie.
    I don’t want to add anything to this comment.
    I choose to let it stand on its own.
    Very powerful.



  3. Oh man, this must just plain ol suck for you Michael. Right now I wish I had your way with words, then I could tell you how much i’m thinking of you and your family, and your dad. I’m not going to offer any reasons, or why’s or how’s. I don’t believe there are any. Life just sucks sometimes. And it’s ok to be pissed as hell about it too. Just be there for your dad, i’m sure on some level he knows…and even if he doesn’t, YOU do. And thats just as important isn’t it?


    Man, talk about support.
    I’m speechless.
    Thank you, Kell.



  4. hi, i enjoy checking out your blog and have added a link to your blog on my blog. actually, my blog is more like a compilation of website reviews and information, but in blog format. anyway, i’d appreciate if you would link back to me from your blog. in any case, keep up the cool blog! cheers, joe


  5. I think it’s enough that you still love him as deeply as you always have. He knows this. I can’t imagine how raw it feels to see a parent reduced to what equates to an infant. But your words reflect your pain. He won’t be like this forever. In the mean time, perhaps, if you haven’t yet, write down your memories of your dad. Special times that the two of you shared. Things you learned from him. I’m sure we’d all like to hear that.


  6. Here’s a big virtual hug for you, Michael. 🙂 My father went through the same thing you did with his dad. So, indirectly, I know what you’re going through right now. Somehow, he knows you and your sister are there.


  7. Oh, Michael, I must believe that there is some meaning to your Dad’s (and your) suffering. I have to choose that, or else I couldn’t go on. I also believe that, just as you know that he’s sad without him speaking the words, he also knows what’s going on with you, again without the words. Maybe that’s the ultimate communication, because you just can’t fake it.

    I don’t think I can improve upon the lovely comments above mine, so I’ll second them.


  8. I felt the need to reply with a separate comment just to say ‘thank you’ for responding the way that you have.
    It means more to me than many of you will ever know.
    That I have people that care enough to leave these wonderful and inspiring words almost leaves me speechless. Notice I said, almost…
    This post came to me fairly quickly though I’m not sure why. I felt I just needed to write it. I may never figure this whole thing out but knowing that I have people out there that honestly empathize with my situation makes the ordeal somehow easier to cope with.
    Again, I thank each and every one of you.
    You’ve amazed me.



  9. What a powerful look into the life of someone dealing with a loved ones illness. I wish I had a cure, or at the least more comforting words than I am sorry for the hardship you and your sister are having to indure.


  10. Dear Michael,

    I just arrived back home and caught up on your articles. I don’t know if you remember me writing to you, but my dad HAD Alzheimer’s–he died on the fourth of July, suddenly. I feel guilty about how much “relief” has entered the grieving process, but we have been grieving our loss for a long time, haven’t we?
    I too struggle with how this would ever be part of God’s plan. It is too cruel. In fact, I don’t think there are many things we are asked to endure, that could be much worse than this. I try to say to myself, that our God is a loving God, and that for some reason he chooses to remain mysterious to us, in some aspects. He doesn’t reveal all things to us from this side of eternity and hence, we learn about faith. Often, I feel as though I say, “I’ll have faith, Lord, if you will just show me how this will work out ahead of time”.

    Anyway, know that I am thinking of you and that I am feeling your burden as I write. I am new to Smoke and Mirrors and will miss reading your reflections, but am happy that you are pursuing your passion and also giving yourself the gift of time with your family. Godspeed, Michael. Continue to reflect and shine.


  11. michaelm

    First, thanks for the unique comments you have been leaving on my weblog.

    I have now just finished reading every one of your entries on Alzheimer’s, and a number of others besides.

    It is reassuring to know that others have a good idea of what one’s experiences are (two parents with dementia, the mother further advanced than the father), but also strangely dispossessing. A point Jonathan Franzen made was that discovering that you or your parent is undergoing something that many others have experienced can feel like something personal has been taken away from that experience.


  12. “I can’t possibly imagine of another ten years of this madness, not only for him but for my sister and me.
    Please hand me the white straitjacket. And a double.”

    My dad hasn’t progressed nearly as far yet, but when I think about the future, this is exactly how I feel. The future looks so looming and bleak when I let my mind think about what his diagnosis actually means. People ask “Is he doing any better?” with a cheery smile, but he’s not, and he never will, because it only get worse from here on out.

    “It’s all in His plan” is a horribly unhelpful statement. Religious comfort and pat answers are not only trite and unhelpful, but they can also be very hurtful.


    As I said Kelsey, that last line is the ultimate in bullshit.
    We are traveling down the same road, I’m just much further along than you.
    If you have a moment to read a few posts about my mom it may at least prepare and I hope help you.
    My email is at the top of my blog should you ever have any questions that I am able to answer.
    Hang in there.


  13. Michael,

    I’m planning on working my way through your postings on your mom before long. I have a feeling it’s like preparing yourself for getting hit with a sledgehammer, but it is good to hear some else voice some of the same feelings and frustrastions as the ones that live in my head. It’s easy to feel alone.

    I’m not sure if it’s the “ulitmate,” I think “God will never give you more than you can handle, so you must be very strong” is up there on the list, too. 😉

    Thank you, Michael, I will email you if I have any questions.


    Some posts will hopefully ring vibrantly regarding what you’re going through.
    If it ultimately prepares you my writing will have done what I’ve always hoped it would do.
    One of the quotes above is from Mother Theresa:
    “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish
    that He didn’t trust me so much. ”
    I use it often.
    Thanks, Kelsey.


  14. It’s hard to know the right words to say. There just has to be a light at the end of the tunnel…and it must seem like such a long tunnel. It’s hard to know what God is thinking right now… can this be his plan? It’s such a horrible disease. My hope is that you can all find some sort of peace throughout all this. The frustration sucks…..for you, your family and your Dad.
    You, Maureen and your Dad are in my thoughts and prayers. Some days prayers are hard to say. I just want God to fix it! Make things better!
    Happier! Thinking of you!!!

    Lynn, I wrote this post sometime ago and almost titled my last post ‘Sadman II’.
    I want God to fix this thing too but our ways are not his ways, as the Bible says.
    I will hang in here until my Dad no longer needs me.
    Can’t do anything else.
    Friends like you help . . .
    God Bless you.


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