Quite a title eh?
March 2nd was the fifth anniversary of my Dad’s passing. Now I have talked openly about the fact my relationship with him was a rocky road, and I don’t intend to go down it again. However, the daily prompt totally made me think of him.
One thing that anyone who knew my Dad would agree on was that he was sharp as a tack when it came to remembering things. Being a pharmacist, attention to detail is key and you couldn’t get much by him.
That is until the last few years of his life. He was never diagnosed with dementia, mainly because I had no way of bringing it up with his doctor without offending Dad. I seemed to do that a lot through that time, and I didn’t want to make it worse. But, to be honest, it broke my heart in more ways than one.
Dad’s memory loss was only short term. He wouldn’t remember taking a nap, or the name of a football player he had just talked about yesterday as being one of his favourites. He would stare at you blankly trying to remember things but was too proud and too stubborn to admit it. That’s the ambiguous part.
When it came to his past, his memories were so vivid and detailed. Going to New York after WWII with one of the guys he had been stationed with was the highlight of a very full life. If I had recorded him telling those stories over and over I am positive that there would be very little change in the details. It was the same for childhood memories as well.
Other people may have tired of hearing the same memories over and over. However, I never did. This was the essence of my dad. There was very little that could move him to show emotion like remembering summers spent with his relatives as a kid. Or being able to carry Satchel Paige’s glove into a traveling game (before Paige played in the MLB). Apparently, Paige and the other players would pick a kid to carry their bat or glove so they could get in free.
I never doubted these stories because I had heard them all my life. And my grandfather had many of the same memories – like one I shared previously of Pop, Dad and Mom going to a Vegas show and Dad getting kissed on his bald head by his all-time crush, the late Debbie Reynolds!
Life was very hard for my Dad those last years, and I am so glad that I could cheer him up or remove his confusion by bringing up a memory or two. Seeing his face light up as the frustrations of the present were instantly washed away is how I want to remember him.