Son Talks of Finding Moments of Joy Despite Father’s FTD on “Remember Me”
On this week’s special episode of the Remember Me podcast in collaboration with the 10th anniversary of AFTD’s With Love campaign, John Kammerer Jr. shared his story of love in honor of his father, John Kammerer Sr.
In the episode entitled “With Love: John Sr. & Jr.”, Kammerer Jr. talked with co-hosts Maria Kent Beers and Rachael Martinez about how his life has changed since his father was diagnosed with FTD in 2015.
“I was just starting my career at 22 and all of a sudden, my dad has dementia,” Kammerer Jr. recalled during the episode.
Kammerer Jr., 28, shared how he has recently been more hands-on with assisting his mother with caring for his father. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he relocated back home to Cincinnati to live with his parents to provide additional support for Kammerer Sr.
During the episode, Kammerer Jr. fondly looked back on memories of the father he knew before FTD. He shared Kammerer Sr.’s story of working alongside his father and siblings in their family’s machinery business and the grief his father felt went he had to prematurely retire from the work that he loved. Kammerer Jr. also talked lovingly about his father’s enduring support for him and his sister as he always reminds them, to this day, to “keep up the good work.”
Despite his father’s diagnosis, Kammerer Jr. said that he and his family are “finding joy amidst the inescapable suffering and sadness.” A moment of joy that Kammerer Jr. holds onto dearly, he explained, is his weekly visits with his father to their local YMCA for swimming sessions. Kammerer Sr., 58, was a competitive swimmer in his early years and still finds happiness and a semblance of his “old self” while in water.
“That is the last sanctuary where my dad is truly himself. He looks like his old self in the pool,” Kammerer Jr. said.
Remember Me will release special With Love-themed episodes each Monday in February. The podcast is available on all major podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more.
To support John Kammerer Jr.’s With Love fundraiser in honor of his father, click here.
Visit the With Love homepage to learn how you can participate.