I was feeding my father lunch the other day when a few thoughts occurred to me.
First of all, it was Ash Wednesday and I found it almost comical that the lunch that day was Boneless BBQ Pork Ribs (they looked pretty damn good, too) and he’s staying in a ‘catholic’ nursing home.
I guess there’s leniency in Lenten observance for Alzheimer patients.
The reversal of our roles over the past several years has been a difficult pill to swallow but one I fully expected to digest and process. But when I look into his eyes and he’s no longer there, I try and remember the last time I heard him say my name, maybe the last time he actually understood something funny I might have said and laughed.
The heartbreaking irony is that, like my mother, I’m slowly beginning to forget my father. The emotional details of him are painfully disappearing for me and I can’t save them anymore.
Picking up the pieces of two shattered lives has a profound way of re-arranging ones own life as the numerous emotional roadmaps of individuality and personality of an individual seemingly evaporate into vapid obscurity.
With every visit another subtle detail vanishes like a delicate snowflake melting on the rosy cheek of a child playing in the snow.
Sometimes it really bothers me, but today I’m ok and I don’t know why.
Doesn’t really matter, I guess.
My father is quiet as I feed him.
He still takes pleasure in the experience of eating, an activity I take for granted.
As long as he continues to eat and drink he will live, for reasons I will never be privy to; survival is an instinct I’ve yet to completely figure out.
Breathe in, breathe out, a simple thing, yet so complex.
He’s lost everything in his life that ever meant anything to him; in some ways the same goes for my sister and me as well as the people that take care of him.
It’s too painful and just plain weird for old friends to visit, my father (as they knew him) has left the planet.
I understand their thorny plight and would never hold that against them.
It’s difficult to talk to a ‘familiar’ stranger.
I know that people mean well but I have a real tough time answering the question, “How’s your father?”
I’m starting to get bitter about it and will pick up any inanimate object and say, “He’s like this. Say hi.”
I feel bad and apologize. . . but not really.
I was expecting to write myself into some kind of uplifting ending here but this is definitely not it.
I’m not sure just what to write anymore and maybe that’s a good thing, a very good thing.
And these days, I need all the good things I can get.