thank you for your note...
I can't say that I know your frustration but, I beg you to humor me as I share mine. Long story, but there is a point...
In the late 90's our family was increasingly faced with our dad’s decline in awareness. (born in 1918). My mom had already been through a mastectomy, a hysterectomy, and two strokes, and dad had had part of his jawbone removed from cancer. (never smoked a day in his life).
Sort of as you were, I was elected to take car keys from my dad, as mom had related that they he had gotten lost on the way to one of their favorite restaurants. It was an endless discussion. Why do you want the keys, I'm okay, how are we going to get anywhere, this is our home but we don't want to get stuck in it, we don't want meals on wheels, mom’s a good cook (in a wheel chair). Because it's not safe dad. I'm okay......round and round. Finally, by chance I said, it's for mom's safety. For mom? Yes, for mom. oh..........Why do you want the keys? ….for mom's safety. Oh, yes anything for mom. 10 minutes later around we go again.
Eventually, I did receive the keys from my dad. Ironically those keys came to me from the same hand that had given me the keys to that old 63 Falcon, way back when in High School. He had said then, “This is not your car, it's just to use. ;-)
Over time we moved our parents from their house to an assisted living facility in a bigger city nearby. It was a nice place with both minimal care and Dementia care. They rented two units with a door cut in between so they could use one of the units as a living room. When dad continued to decline he was moved to the "other" side.
While mom visited him every day, her nightmare of his relentless questioning was over. It had gotten so bad that sometimes she would pretend to be asleep so dad would stop asking the same questions.
Eventually mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away. But, not before she (at 80), my sister (53), and my niece (13) were all baptized on the same day. We had taken the whole family to our home church for the service. While there Dad asked where we were, why we where here, and when are we going to eat? See it comes to me genetically ;-)
When the service came to the Lord's Prayer, everything stopped for my Dad, he folded his hands and said the Lord's Prayer. Later when my mom died dad didn’t know where he was or why the whole family was there.
As dad's health dropped drastically, I received the call from sisters and was able to see him on a Friday. While I talked about Jesus, and dad’s baptism and faith, He talked about whether I knew there was a strange person in the bed on the other side of the room.
My next older sister from Alaska arrived that Saturday, my oldest sister lived only a few miles away. On Sunday, dad woke up out of a nap and talked to them both my sisters very clearly. He named them by their names and said thank you to both of them for taking such good care of me and mom. At that time dad had not remembered anyone’s name for over a year.
On Monday my dad's breathing slowed, and my next older sister said the Lord's prayer with my dad as he passed away. She was/is a Biologist, and was/is maybe an agnostic, on a really good day. My oldest sister had no faith to speak of at that time.
As for me, I was at the Seminary and inwardly had been very mad with God for some time. How dare he take away my dad's mind? My dad was a Phd educator with a photographic memory, he made his living on his mind, so for me God had taken away his greatest asset, and then he took mom away from him too.
Four perspectives, 1) my older brother who did not participate at all, 2) how can I help him, 3) it's a process of life, how can I help, 4) damn you God for taking his mind and his wife.
I read the Bible, read self-help books like the “The 36-hour day”, and still was angry. At the time all this was happening, I was also a chaplain at Lutheran Hospital and saw death every single day, I knew the process, I knew how to help, I knew the prayers, and I knew I was angry.
Finally, it occurred to me that in all the time that my dad had declined, it wasn't he who was suffering. He couldn't remember enough to know what he didn't have. His joys had been reduced to snitching a cookie from the cafeteria while winking at me.
But, he also didn't know mom was dying, and he did not have to suffer her loss. My fear at mom's funeral was that history would repeat itself, my dad would be like his dad, pounding on the casket and crying. But it was not to be so.
It was me who was being selfish, I was mad because I didn't have the Dad I wanted, the one I remembered, not even the dad I didn't want to remember. But, my dad had faith, right down to his last Lord's Prayer.
God had protected my father in his deepest weakness. I learned a life long lesson of faith, compassion, and mercy. Not my mercy, but mercy from my father to me, in his weakness, from The Our Father.
My sister from Alaska is still an agnostic. My brother passed away the next year, his was my first 'official' funeral service. My oldest sister passed away too. Interestingly, she too heard the Lord's Prayer in her last moments from her sister.
Regardless of whether one believes whether belief in God played a role, as I most certainly do, both sisters had mercy on each other in the way that was appropriate for them. One’s mercy delivered in logical compassion and that same mercy received through faith in Christ.
Today my mom and dad's bodies remain under a hunk of stone that merely states, "Together Forever." And you know that I believe that their souls are in heaven just as they believed it too.
Your dad said let the situation evolve, and the statement you heard rang ironic. A creationist telling a evolutionist to let it evolve. I do not think your dad saying "let it evolve" means what you think it means. Logically dying in one's house by trip or fall, or by starving to death, or whatever horrid ways we may invent in our minds is not the safe or healthy ending we would choose, though it is what they want to choose.
Though they may or may not have been the parents you wanted, together they model a marriage that is to be commended. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One man, One woman, One marriage, for life. That is indeed exceptional, we cannot all have that, sadly for some that too becomes impossible.
At minimum logic and the A.M.A. would tell us to live in their world, as we try to comfort them in this their declining years. No matter how much frustration is applied, we cannot make them, into who we want them to be, whether in memory or in the present. Intervention sometimes means giving people what may seem to them like a spoon full of assisted living cod liver oil. For safety’s sake this should considered in the next few days as the next step.
I believe God will take care of your mom and dad, it may not be pretty in a way we want, but it most certainly will be perfect, He will have the last word to your mom and dad…“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
I don't know if this did anything for you, but it was sure good for me.
Blessings, we will continue to stop in and visit your parents at home. Let me know if there are any other ways I can help.