For those of you who may not know, my father has a disease called Fronto-Temporal Dementia (FTD). I had never heard of it prior to his diagnosis. It is similar in some respects to Alzheimers but also has some major differences. The biggest perhaps being that it generally affects a different area in the brain, and that it usually strikes at a much younger age. My father has had it now for several years, and he is only 67. Dementia is a strange illness and an evil one. It takes away the person you knew. They are still there on the outside, but the person you remember disappears.
I’ve learned much through this journey with him, as has the rest of our family. We’ve all learned to accept him as he is and not wish for something different. We’ve also learned to laugh along with him. He laughs and enjoys his life. At this point, he doesn’t realize that life as he experiences it is not as it should be. He has a routine, and he enjoys it. He smiles and laughs a lot. Much of the time he is lost in his own thoughts. However, every now and then he surfaces and connects with us. It usually catches us off guard when he does, and he loves when he does it and is able to make us laugh. What amazes me most is how strongly his love for the truth remains. He may not understand all the details any longer, but he knows where he is supposed to be every Sunday and Monday. His mind may not be clear, but his heart still motivates him in a way that is an example to us all.