My dad is dying.
Normally, that’s not something I would say to anybody at first acquaintance. It’s too personal, too painful, too soon.
Here, though, it somehow seems appropriate. It’s my therapy blog, my readers, my thoughts, and so I am free from any restraints imposed by normalcy.
It hurts to say it; that he is dying. It’s not only that I love him, and that I will be sad to see him go. It’s the way he is dying – slowly, a little piece of him crumbling away every moment of every day. It’s like the tide – at first, you’re not sure it’s really going out, and then you think that it will be a very long time before it does go out all the way (and you have plenty of time to enjoy the water), but far too soon you realize it is going. It’s going fast, and there is nothing you can do to keep the water from receding. The world is too big, too old, and you are small and young and frail.
Death is like that. Watching someone die of dementia is painful in ways I didn’t know I could ache. Tears don’t seem to help, and being with him is an especially exquisite form of torture.
I miss him. I hold his hand and talk to him, but it’s like a bad episode of Dr. Who, or some other hokey form of science fiction, where the robot is dying, and instead of just shutting off, it starts repeating all the things it used to say all the time.
“My life really started when I met your mom.”
“The hell, you roar!”
“Well, I was fishing with Dad, you see, and my job was to run the motor….”
I can hear Future Me whispering in my ear to enjoy this time; it’s a gift, before he really loses it, and is gone for good. I wish she would shut up. It does me no good to focus on how much worse it will get before he actually passes away.
The future may hold beautiful days with him yet, but I can’t bring myself to think of them. They hurt, too, because I know he won’t remember. Someday, he won’t even remember me. And what will I do then?
He got old too soon. He wasn’t supposed to go this way; I’m too young to say goodbye. I still need his wisdom and his love and his ever-enduring faith in me – always sure that I will do the right thing.
Play it again, God. Please, play it again.