Martin Avadian…March 31
Nine years ago this evening, a massive stroke took my father’s life. He had lived with Alzheimer’s for five years.
In a way, he was fortunate to have gone in thirty minutes instead of clutching for life on artificial life support.
I lived with regret for not having been by his side as he fell into a brief coma, before passing.
After the September 11th terror attacks, I was glad he didn’t have to suffer from that pain.
Years later, after learning of the final weeks, days, hours and minutes of countless other loved ones, I’ve come to accept that
our loved ones can determine to some extent–even while under a coma–when they choose to make life’s ultimate transition.
April Fools’ Day and my mother is gone
Coincidentally, eighteen years ago, on April Fools’ Day, my father called to tell me my mother died. After suffering for many years with congestive heart failure, she too decided to leave this world within an hour of my father’s departure from her side.
It hurts to see them go … an Orphan
I used to say: I’m an orphan. I actually felt sad about this for many years. While my husband had both his parents and so did my friends, I felt few understood what it felt like not to be able to go to a parent and ask a question. No more.
I sought the comfort of cousins and adopted family. I even adopted a Mom and Dad. It is said, when life hands you a void, you fill it up. I did and to this day, I draw comfort from those around me.
During the years that passed I focus on my parents’ legacy and their deeply implanted roots within me — my values, my work ethic, my determination, my integrity, and ways of relating with others.
Physically gone but in our minds and hearts
Blood may no longer be coursing through their veins. I may not longer be able to pick up the phone and call them or even fly out to visit them; but I remember them. They live in my mind, in my heart, in my speeches, and books. They even live in fellow caregivers’ minds and hearts as my father’s journey helps those well beyond our borders.
I know my father would be surprised to learn that the final years of his journey has helped tens of thousands of caregivers around the world. Then again, he may already know. My mother may be smiling. The universe is too vast and our knowledge just a fraction. Who knows? He may even be reading this as I type this.
Brenda Avadian, MA
Expert Caregiving Spokesperson, Author, and Founder, TheCaregiversVoice.com
Martin Avadian’s story is told in “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s