I’m going to break with my pattern and get personal today. A writer that I very much admire–Alexandra Franzen–is often personal on her blog. She’s also professional and very successful as a freelance writer. Part of her advice is to just write. At this moment, this is what I feel like writing.
Sunday–Father’s Day–was a tough day. My Dad is sick with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. His illness is at a point where he now often doesn’t know where he is, who he’s with or what’s happening. We had arranged a lunch for Father’s Day as that’s a time where he’s often most alert. However, of course, that was not the case this time.
Getting through the visit was a challenge. It was not celebratory. It was not special. I try to be a positive person, but Father’s Day when your father is not really present sucks.
Checking Instagram throughout the day, all I saw were warm, fuzzy, happy posts from people about fathers. (BTW, you can totally tell the majority of users on IG are women. The outpouring on Mother’s Day was nothing compared to Father’s Day.) I saw a couple “Dad, I miss you posts.” Eventually, I had to unplug.
I am not at the point yet where I can say, “Dad, I miss you.” I do totally. I miss the person who was my Dad immensely. But there’s this person still here. This person whom I love and whom I will help forever, no matter what he needs, because of who he was.
As I put him in the car later in the afternoon, my Dad had a moment of lucidity. He said, “Thank you for all you do for me, Jules. I love you so much. You’re so special. I’m so proud of you.” Basically, he is saying goodbye, as he does every lucid moment he has with his children now. Because he doesn’t know how many more of them there will be. And he never wants us to doubt his love for us.
I’m trying hard to celebrate Father’s Day. That I was able to spend time with my Dad. That he had a moment where he knew what was happening. That he could be with his children and his wife. Mostly, though, I’m just filled with sadness that my Dad is gone and there’s this person here whom I often don’t recognize–and who doesn’t recognize his family. I wonder if this is my last Father’s Day with my Dad. And–the terrible, horrible result of these diseases–I feel a bit of hope for him and me that that might be true.
I know that love lives on, and I will never, ever doubt my Dad’s love for me. I only hope that he feels the same from me. I have so much respect and pride and love for this man that formed me. I love you, Dad.