My (adult) daughter and I went to see my dad yesterday. He's nearly 89, has late-stage Alzheimer's and lives in a care home a 40 minute drive away. I try to get over for an hour or so every fortnight, although it's more for me than him, as he doesn't remember my visits and forgets I was there by the time I've signed out at reception.
He does appear to get some comfort from our presence though. Yesterday was particularly strange. Dad has a habit of getting stuck in a loop and he'll repeat the same words, sentence or idea over and over for a few minutes until he spins off into a new sequence. Sometimes he knows who I am; mostly he confuses me with mum. Yesterday he was at peace. I was there, he was there, Clare was there and he was at peace and happy. He told us he'd died several times and come back again but that in the end it didn't matter as he was at peace. He was holding our hands and he was frightened, but it was all OK.
At this point, both Clare and I had shivers down our spines! He's looking wide-eyed across the lounge at things we can't see - his eyesight isn't good these days, but he seemed to be seeing something. And he tells us that all his brothers and sisters are there and that makes him happy. He's one of the youngest of a very large family and I think there are only four of them left.
And then he slept. And Clare and I wondered if he'd wake up again or whether that was it. I like to think he'd stepped very briefly close to the veil, that he's standing closer to it every day, and one day - when he's ready - he'll take that final step across.
Love you, dad xx