On October 30, 1995, my wonderful Papa's quick descent into suffering and dementia blessedly ended. He was one of the lucky ones who didn't have to suffer in that dreaded state for long. We didn't even know he had Alzheimer's until close to the end, because the Parkinson's he was first diagnosed with masked it. The doctors had told my mom, aunt, and Mema that dementia was a very real possibility and that it would most-likely happen with any sudden change in environment. On October 9, 1995, that change occurred on the drive from my parent's house back to their home near Houston. He was fine before lunch, took a nap after, and woke up in a state of delerium. Within a week, he had to be placed in a nursing home. Shortly after that, he and my grandmother celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. The next day, he left us.
Papa was a good man, a wonderful provider, and a loving and generous soul. Even now, I still think about him and what he would say about certain aspects of my life (some would be good and some would be bad). I'm thrilled that I was not too selfish to make the 4 hour drive to my parent's house that weekend and that my lasting image of him was him taking a slow-shuffling walk, hand-in-hand with my grandmother. THAT image is how I remember him. Would that we could all achieve that kind of love in our lives.
I love and miss you, Papa. I wish you were still here.