Saturday, January 8, 2011
It's All About The Alzheimers, Part Three: Beauty Is In The Details
In my ongoing quest to find the sunny side of watching my father slowly lose himself into a sea of forgotten words, memories, and abilities, I found the Holy Grail in the unlikeliest of places. This week, it was on the shelf right outside his apartment door. There he had replaced his holiday decor (a figurine of "The Old Man" from A Christmas Story, holding his major award) with a framed photo of my sister and I.
That discovery almost--almost--replaced the mental recording of the last week's flight experience, when my father and I (along with my husband) were returning home after spending the holidays with my sister in California. He took each step of the traveling process as a personal attack inflicted upon him by me--the security line, the undressing and re-dressing, the returning the tray to its upright position and handing over of the unfinished beverage. He got a reprieve on that last one, because the stewardess, seeing how frustrated I was becoming, decided to let him keep his coffee. It was a lateral move, though--she still made me hand over mine, which had a substantially higher alcohol content. My father's response? "Well, hand me a damn cookie, then." I guess I should feel lucky--not everyone has their own personal version of "Shit My Dad Says."
I wish I were writing funny, light-hearted blogs, like I used to. I wish I hadn't retreated since my last post from writing altogether, seeing my friends, and working on following my dreams. I wish a lot of things these days. But I have noticed all the little things I normally wouldn't be noticing. The details mean so much more to me now. When you're dealing with Alzheimer's, there's no other way to live. The only mental weapon I have against losing it when I see my father can't button his sweater correctly is the fact that said sweater is a brand-new, expensive cashmere cardigan. He may not remember what it's called, but the man still has his sense of style.
Don't worry, readers. I think I still have some funny in me. It's just a little tangled up in the details right now.