My name is Anne. I a was born in France and have lived in the United States for the past 24 years.
In 2000 my life changed for ever. I became a U.S. citizen and two months later, my mother was suddenly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Two years later, she lost her battle with that deadly cancer and died on my birthday.
I was, as well as my siblings, very concerned about my father's well being and his interaction with us and with people around him. A year earlier, I had cooked for the summer at "windchime," a place for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I payed a lot of attention to these people who came up to me and told me stories over and over; wonderful, beautiful people with very touching stories.
Somewhere, I was getting myself ready for the most painful four years to come following my mother's death. I had noticed when my mom was still alive that my father was always asking for what day it was. My mom would get upset, which was of course her own way to show that she was worried.
My sweet dad had lost his loving companion and was so overwhelmed with grief, but also could not remember what he did with things. He started to drink heavily and was so lost! One day, I talked to him and could tell that he had been drinking. One day my brother found him lying incoherently on the living room floor. My father had a stroke and was taken to the emergency room. He was in and out of the hospital until his death in the middle of the night a year ago.
My life was flying between San Francisco and Paris. If you could know the tremendous guilt I felt and also the pain of seeing my father waste away before my very own eyes. Seeing him so vulnerable and wondering why he could not have his wallet or where my mother was when he would wake up from a nap. My father was an engineer and a very intelligent man. Watching him lose his dignity through the disease was so excruciating. I will always remember!
To keep sane, we used a lot of humor and laughed a lot. But deep down, I felt that tremendous pain because I had lost my mother, and the day she died, I also lost my father. I watched him deteriorate slowly until he left.
The day he died we all felt relieved; he was free. I am strong, and I am doing well. I wanted to share my story with you.