I was talking to my sister the other night regarding our father’s current invisibility level. We are in total agreement.
Emotionally and conversationally, there’s nothing there.
Alzheimer’s has taken everything that once belonged to our father and left us with an undeniable reminder; his body and his blood; a sacrificial offering of sorts, albeit an unrecognizable version of the original.
Maybe it’s faith that allows us to continue caring and loving him as we did with no thought whatsoever given to the hopes of an actual returned response.
I sit with him these days and wonder if he’s really in there.
People say, “He knows you’re there.”
I truly wonder if he does. It’s so damn hard to know.
There were the small and seemingly insignificant moments that I shared with my mother, mystical fragments of time that occasionally appeared before me—subtle tests of my faith. We shared many sacred moments that transcended the earthly trappings of time and space, dissolving into an amazing kind of grace.
There will sadly be no magical moments like these with our father.
I’ve fruitlessly planted numerous seeds of hope knowing full well that life comes not from barren ground; thy will be done.
The bitter pill of disappointment has been swallowed time and time again but somehow faith lets the thinnest sliver of light bleed through the crack in the door.
His nurse tells me they take him to mass everyday, his daily bread.
If it offers even the slightest bit of respite for his tired and puzzled mind, it’s more than worth it.
I find visits with him these days to be somewhat devoutly symbolic when I realize the only thing he has left to offer me is his body and blood.
Do this in memory of me. . .
Perhaps, in some small way, he is ultimately teaching me how to rediscover my faith, my life.
His condition demands that I inspect my own lack of belief, a frail and dilapidated spiritual bridge I occasionally find myself unable to cross.
The other side seems so close yet my soul is still so damn far away.
In my mind’s eye, I see my father’s silhouette waiting on the distant shore and in my heart blooms a whisper of a prayer that one day I’ll make it all the way across.