I left from visiting my father yesterday, and he sobbed like a child and called out to me. "Your Leaving...I don't want you to!" I stopped dead in my tracks, this was my father a man who laughed and sluffed things off and never once have I ever seen him sob like a baby.
I stood silent and steady, the doorway framed me. The day was beautiful and when I looked back at him I saw the tall grassess in the garden hovering above the line of the Large bay window. I saw the bright green granny smith apple I gave him. The shallow skin from lack of oxygen, and the sad white head bobbing with emotions up and down whilst his hands grasp the calendar. A year old calendar that he writes things he remembers on, as if a blind man using his braille book he recently aquired. Hands bruised, rotting.
"Look at a man's hands and how they stand", he had barked that often to me. Look at the strength and steadiness to see the truth in the hands. Look at how they hold themselves up and meet life and others. Look, notice all these things I look at I look at through his view and a mixture of my own I suppose. I looked at his hands and the bruises and the feebleness. I am losing my father.
You can tell me how hard it is and how awful it is this disease of forgetting. I can tell you in my heart and when my husband holds me as I cry that when someone makes a joke "I must be having an alzheimers moment" as they laugh a simple forgotten matter. I can tell you that I want to beat the hell out of that ignorant person. Right in that moment, just lash out at all the fear and pain I hold for my father and myself. To see one not know, to wander and remember that something is off and it scares them and they cry and they just feeze in their tracks hold the wall the white rail child proof wall.
I often think of the movie "Big", where the character is a kid in a adults body. Really though, when you see your parent in this role and your soul is still the child its like being stoned in a three way circus house. Uncomfortable, scary, and unnerving.
The day my father's cover was blown, he was visiting Monticello with my mother. He refused to participate. She noticed he would look at clocks more as if searching out a trip board in the train station searching with those squinted brows and turning head. My father never wore a watch, he never believed in watches and thought men who wore them were to self important and vain. She noticed, my mother his lack of independence his not being able to add well or do long division in his head. Leaving burners on, doors open, and that steady walk looked as if it were going back on the evolution trail. The gait and the hanging arms.
I am terrified, to watch him unravel and become ghostly and transparent like scotch tape. Selfishly, my terror gets deep into my soul. All the what if's and maybe I will, and how can there not be a cure all sink into my self pity like a deep cycst. Not pliable not able to be lanced. To core, to scarred.
I had gone to my old family home before visiting my father. The colors were wrong and the house was without our fingerprints, without the touch. I moved through like a quiet vapor, the family who had bought it from us were moving out after only two years and another in as quickly as the first left. I ran up into all the rooms trying to get a registration out of the house. But we were not there any longer.
I ran back into my father's room hugged him and ran out like a cat dodging water.
My father blew a kiss to me and I to him.
Here is to hoping I shall remember to remember him when its time to say goodnight.