My mom died from a very painful cancer at a young age. At the time, I couldn't imagine anything worse...that is until my dad developed dementia in his mid 80's. This was a man that had been physically and mentally active(at 85 he would start the day goose hunting, play 18 holes of golf, go pheasant hunting and then go home and clean the geese and pheasants) until he fell on some rip-rap and hit his head while fishing. The mental decline was so scarey for him and me. He had never been depressed a day in his life and after about a year he developed severe clinical depression. One day he asked me, 'who would ever think that I would get depressed?' 'Not me' was my response. He moved into a semi-independent living facility and soon into the nursing home. The dementia continued it's ugly march. You know that old joke about the Norwegian that loved his wife so much he almost told her?, that was my dad. With his march through dementia he became so kind that one day I asked him, 'where was this dad when I was growing up?' I took him for rides to community functions and funerals of his friends. He really liked getting out of the nursing home. One day as we were returning to the nursing home after a funeral I had brought him to, I asked him what hymns he would like sung at his funeral. With a panicked look, he turned to me and said, 'am I going to die?' No, not today, I replied. Little did I know that the next day he would develop a severe pneumonia and not live to see Saturday morning. But, we sang the one hymn that he started to sing in the car that Monday on the way home from the funeral. I was so glad that I was given that opportunity.
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