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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / My Dad's Voice /   Editorial List

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 My Dad's Voice

Today marks the 19th anniversary of my dadís passing. Although many times I am comforted by still being able to hear his voice in my head, I have missed him every day since. Everything we have done for and with family caregivers over these past sixteen years came about due to watching how lovingly my mom cared for him and my grandparents into their final days. I know Dad would have been right at home (and probably the center of attention) at our Fearless Caregiver Conferences. 

Dad was a smart, funny and extremely outgoing guy who loved to tell stories; the kind of guy you can sit with and talk about any topic, well into the night. Which is one reason why I constantly second guess my hesitance about sitting him in front of a video camera and letting him share himself with future generations of his family. I know why I didnít do it, but I am still conflicted. You see, when my dad became ill and his strength waned to the point that he could no longer easily play with his young granddaughters, his greatest concern was that they would only remember him as the frail and infirm man he had become, not as the active and fun grandpa they had known during the first years of their lives. So I was hesitant to ask him to sit in front of a camera only to be remembered in his present condition. Coincidently, when my grandfather was first diagnosed with Alzheimerís, he had similar concerns about his great-grandchildren. Yet, in both cases, they didnít have anything to worry about; my nieces adored them and have fond memories of them to this date, so many years after their passing.

This is why I am interested in how we capture and share our loved onesí life stories; not only with those members of our family too young to remember them after they are gone, but also for those working in the long-term care facilities in which they may eventually live. It is always better for the staff to know your mom as Penny from Peoria who loved to play the piano as opposed to patient in room 102.

Actually, I have a feeling Dad would really love to hear about so many stories being shared.
 
How I share my loved oneís story

 

Gary Barg
Editor-in-Chief

gary@caregiver.com