01/16/2014 12:10 pm ET Updated Mar 18, 2014

The Day I Had to Tell My Daughter My Dad Has Dementia

"Mommy, your nose is red."

"Yes, it is."


(sigh, deep breath) "Because I've been crying, sweetie."


"I was crying because I am sad."

"Why are you sad?"

"I'm sad because BaBop is sick."

"Is he going to die?"

"Someday he will, but not right now. The sickness he has is not life threatening."

"What sickness?"

"BaBop has something called dementia. It's a sickness in the brain that can happen to people sometimes when they get older."

"What does it do?"

"When a person has dementia, his brain doesn't work the way it should. He has trouble remembering things, can become confused and sometimes can't control his emotions. BaBop can't live with DeeDee right now. He has to be someplace where doctors and nurses can take care of him and give him the special medicine he needs to help him."

"Will he ever come home?"

"I honestly don't know. He can't be home right now. But BaBop loves us, and we love him. And nothing changes that. OK?"


"Do you have any other questions you want to ask me about BaBop?"


"Well if you do, or if you are feeling sad or worried, you can come to me and we'll talk about it, OK?"


"I am always here for you. To talk about anything. And sweetie, I'm sorry if I haven't been my best today. Sometimes grown-ups have to deal with things that are really hard. Thank you for being such a good girl for Daddy today while I was away. I love you."

"I love you."

(hug and kiss)

This post originally appeared at The Writer Revived. It is part of a series I will be sharing here concerning my family's journey with dementia, and how it has impacted my parenting.