“You have dementia,” said the doctor, to my father. He took the news as if he was just told, “You have a hangnail.” We drove past the sparkling lake on the way to the grocery store and I told him how it must suck to have heard that diagnosis. He sat silently staring out the window at the boats on the sunbathed water.
My suspicions finally confirmed, my mind spun in all directions like wind-whipped dandelion seeds. Need to get him into the Veteran’s Home. Need to get him to want to go to the Veteran’s Home. Need to do something with his property -four states away. Need to get to the grocery store, pick up the boy from his Nonna’s and go home to make dinner.
Dementia. Explains Groundhog Day. Still feels shitty. The anger I’d felt toward my dad for his mean words over the years, for his perpetual adolescence, for his mistreatment of all the women in his life, for his shadowy presence in my life started to seep into the background of my heart and mind. (Thank you, meditation.)
Expectations for things ever being different dissipated like midnight campfire smoke drifting up to meet the stars. And all the anxiety I’d held onto over him coming to be here with me, my husband and my son relaxed into a gentle, solid compassion…and a grief that hit me up-side the head like the proverbial two-by-four.
So I cry. A lot. Sometimes just a little. And the tears help wash the dust away so I can see slightly clearer for the next task…