Today is Wednesday, the day I go to visit my Dad, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 4 1/2 years ago and now lives in a personal care home in the Spring Branch area.
I was going to write last week about how the other two residents at the care home have "redeemed" these weekly visits for me. One, Chester, is about the most gregarious guy you'd ever want to meet. Sure, he tells me the same stories every week (although I did hear a new one last week...), but he is super friendly and always so happy to see me. The other, Henry, is usually pretty quiet, but last week, I was sitting between him and my Dad on the couch. My Dad was sipping away at his milkshake; Henry was drinking coffee.
We started talking about coffee. I told him, I love that first sip of coffee, when you can just feel it moving through your body. He smiled and nodded. How amazing, Henry was alert that day!
Today, Henry was quiet, but Chester was up to his usual tricks and stories. I always bring Chester a chocolate shake too. He is more vocal about his appreciation. My Dad simply takes it from me and starts focusing all his attention on putting the straw in his mouth.
I felt really down today after leaving. My next stop was Turning Point, a homeless shelter where I hang out for lunch on Wednesdays. I don't know, I just didn't feel like I had anything to offer to anyone today. I "faked" my way through conversation with several people. I guess you don't have to "feel it" to still be a ray of sunshine to those around you. Perhaps that's when being that sunshine is even more significant, I don't know.
I was meditating this evening, after preparing dinner but before consuming it. My mind was deep, deep into thought. I was thinking about my Dad, how he had slipped away for good, how I could not have any kind of conversation with him any more, how I would never be able to say the things to him I've never said; resolve some things properly. But then maybe they would never have been resolved had my Dad never taken ill. Perhaps it is best this way, that they just sort of slipped off of the radar.
In my imagination today, though, he was alert. He knew me. He smiled. And I said to him, let me in; please let me in. The same time this was going on, I was aware of another "vision" or "image" of me walking very quickly toward something (or was it away from something?) but I don't know what. And that's when a loud chord sounded in the music I had playing in the background, startling me, summoning me from the depths of somewhere.
I suppose my imaginings are the only place I can still engage my Dad. Maybe that's really the best place, too. It certainly is more peaceful.