Saturday, April 22, 2017

April 22. Day 112. Somewhere over the rainbow

I find myself thinking about my dad a lot at random times such as when I am walking along the beach. This is odd because my dad hated the beach on account of the sand. And the sun. But mostly the sand. And yet every year we went on family holidays to the beach. Dad may have hated the beach but he loved his family more. It's kind of the reverse in our place. I'm the beach tragic. On the way home I asked Drama Teen if he'd had an okay break given that most of the time he was doing exactly the same thing he does on his computer and phone at home. "It doesn't make a lot of difference to me. But I know it makes a huge difference to you and that matters," he said. It was a beautifully honest response from a teenager. Later in the day there was another moment when I found myself thinking about my father and my son. After the theatre, my son and I dropped in at a restaurant where a dear family friend was celebrating her 80th birthday. We were planning on just collecting my mother from the celebrations and passing on our good wishes but we arrived at cake time and we invited to stay for a bit. I took a seat. An old bloke came up and asked me who I was and what I was doing there. At first I thought he was joking. Then he told me I should leave or he would evict me I thought perhaps drunk. Then he picked up the chair threw me on the floor and looked like he might hit me with the chair he was still holding. Others rushed in and rescued me and took gentle control of the bloke. It was explained he had dementia and didn't know what he was doing. I got it. I really did. My beautiful, soft, polite father had become a monster in the years before he died of early onset Alzheimers at age 62. Dementia doesn't just mean you forget names. You forget everything you have learned depending on which part of the brain is ravaged. That includes tolerance, respect and restraint. My son witnessed the incident and handled himself with great dignity. He listened while the bloke said I was dressed like a tart and just said "that's my mother". The bloke's daughter came over and spoke to me in tears. I hugged her. I told her I had been, there. Done that. The disease is the bastard, not the man. It's tragically difficult to focus on that when you are living through it but it is what it is. And if your dad does decide to take out his anger and frustration on a stranger at a party you can probably be thankful he picked someone who gets it and someone whose young man thinks with his head and his heart and not his fists.

No comments:

Post a Comment