Whoever said there was no upside to Alzheimer’s hasn’t met my dad. I don’t know if this is one of those “gifts from God” I’ve been reading so much about in those we’re-filed-in-self-help-but-really-should-be-called-temporary-distraction-from-drinking-books or what, but recently when I showed my father a photo of myself from high school, he didn’t recognize me. I know, this is where I’m supposed to feel a shift, a major downturn in our relationship, and start the acceptance stage of grief, where I know I am indeed losing him to the disease. But instead -- euphoria! That ugly, overbite-ridden girl with glasses and a Dee Snyder haircut is not his daughter. She can’t be.
I find this turn of events inspiring. If he’s going to start forgetting things about me, let’s look at the bright side. That means he’ll forget that first day I was handed car keys, and then promptly backed out of the driveway and into a telephone pole. He won’t bring up that time I fell in love with a boy at summer camp and cried in front of everyone when he was expelled for bringing in beer. We can once again go to the zoo together, because he won’t remember the last time we went, when the chimps did really adult things with one another that no one should witness with their father. These are all good things.
Sadly, as of now, he remembers all those things. I know, because I asked. (Well, for that last one I simply mentioned the zoo and gauged his reaction. Trust me, he remembers.) But there’s always tomorrow, right?