A moment of panic in the dark. Where am I? Who am I? What day is it? Why am I? This was just a dream or a moment of waking from a dream. A moment of unknowing that I cannot forget.
Is this the daily existence for a man who lived in his brain, my father?
Just a couple of years ago he was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, after his symptoms took a turn for the worst. He’d been showing them for years, but nobody paid attention, blaming his mood shifts and other difficulties on hearing or alcohol. But it wasn’t that.
It was the loss of his being in his mind.
He still knows us, but has moments of not-knowing, or moments of pure memory. He is still my dad, but then again he is not. I am not with him often, but when I am there he is not with me. Not really.
I feel like I should mourn, but I do not know how. He has always been the person I went to when I had questions that involved the mind, but I cannot say we were ever truly close. I don’t know that anyone in my family was ever truly close.
My memories have faded as well.
It is painful to know that this man who used to be so vibrant and who used to charm all of my friends, is somehow fading into himself. I never even really talk to him anymore, as the phone is my only contact with my family and he never talks. I think my family somewhat resents my physical distance which makes it even harder to call. My physical distance is becoming metaphysical.
In all honesty I am afraid. I am afraid of watching someone dwindle and disappear right before my eyes. But at isn’t the only thing I fear. I am afraid of watching my future. Am I destined to disappear in a similar way, my mind receding back into memory until there is nothing left but emptiness? I can’t live life like that.
I miss my dad.