In August of that year he was playing golf with his friends. I don’t know exactly which ones but I figure the group consisted of James Groves, Tommy Weaver, Roy Cain, and several others.
Dad went from playing golf in August to being hospitalized in September.
He went from the hospital directly to Canton Nursing Center to never return home. He still resides there today.
The week before we took him to the hospital, my mother, Linda, called me almost every night to come to their house because Dad was out of control.
Every trip was the same. He would merely tell me that he wanted to go home.
If you have never been exposed to anyone with this disease, be thankful. It was absolutely gut-wrenching to watch the man that had raised me and protected me my entire life beg to go home when he was already there.
I remember every night that week when he would ask to go home, I would help him into my car and ride around the community for a half hour or so and then take him back to my parents’ home and say, “Well Dad, we are home.”
This seemed to satisfy him for the night although the same ritual would occur again about 24 hours later. This was taking a toll on my mom and me.
On Friday night of that week, I went to their house and found Dad on the floor looking through a basket of magazines. He was unable to get up from the floor on his own. Again, he just wanted to go home.
I told my mom on that night that we had to take him to the hospital.
It was a tough decision to make and I will always feel a responsibility for insisting we do that. Because when he left that night, he never went back.
The part of this equation that troubled me the most was watching him have such a desire to go home and yet he was already home.
Where was he talking about going? Was he talking about the house where he grew up in the North Canton Village? Was he talking about anywhere his own parents might be?
Was he talking about the life after this life? I certainly do not have the answer and don’t know anyone that does. And although he still talks about going home, it’s not as often.
Like other tragedies of life, time helps us heal and adjust.
Pretty much since my Dad has been in the nursing home; he hasn’t been able to call my name. I think he knows me sometimes but other times, I don’t.
Whether he does or does not, I will never have any way of knowing because he can’t relate it to me.
Oh, how I wish I could turn the clock back and ask him for advice on problems of life. But I can’t.
Dad’s brother, Harrison Collett, died a couple of years ago after being stricken with this disease. Both of their parents had the disease.
So I asked my doctor if there was a good chance I would have the same thing happen to me. He told me there was a test that could be done to determine if the gene was inside me.
He also told me to think hard about it before deciding whether or not to have the test. I decided that I didn’t want to know. I will just leave it in God’s hands.
But if the day does come that I am also stricken with this disease and I am begging to go home, I can only hope that someone will be there that cares enough to pacify me by taking me for a short ride and then returning me to my residence and telling me that I am home.
Country music star Miranda Lambert sings a beautiful song titled “The House That Built Me.”
I still think of home as that small house on a hill in the Keithsburg Community although my parents moved out of it years ago. It was the house that built me.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.