Dear Dad Part 1

The last several times I’ve visited my dad he has been unable to respond in any way more than a tremor of the mouth or a twitch of an eyebrow.  I talk to him anyway, not knowing whether he hears or understands or not.

I’ve never been particularly good at speaking in ways my dad understood.  I always had a penchant for questions he couldn’t answer.  Too often, this was calculated on my part.

I got my sense of humor from my mom.  Thus, when I would hit dad with snappy questions or drop rhetorical bombshells in front of him, I would get a chuckle and a slight shake of his head.

We developed the kind of relationship where, more often than not, less than a minute into our phone conversation, he would say, “Do you want to talk to your mom?”

In these recent years, I decided that he was aware his mind wasn’t what it used to be.  That he had trouble keeping things straight or following a conversation.

If I had any of those years to do over again, a little of me now wishes I would have talked to him differently; more on his terms than on mine.

These last couple of visits, I’ve been different.  I’ve held his head, massaged his feet, anything I could think of that might bring him some comfort.  Like most of my life, I don’t know for sure if it makes much difference to him, but I do it anyway.  Now I do these things not because I am comfortable doing them, like the way I used to talk to him, but because I hope that, even a little, they are good for him.

Please understand: I don’t remember ever having any doubt of my father’s love for me.  And I am not beating myself up now for not living better in it.  More, I think, reflecting on a life I too often took for granted.

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