Alzheimer's Stole My Father
A light-fingered kleptomaniac
Among the residents.
If you want to keep something,
Do not bring it with you; and hand
your car keys to the nurses at the front desk
but pray they will not be called away, forgetting
your keys are there.
We decorated Dad’s shared eight by ten room
in reds and blacks, and gave him a large teddy bear
He grinned like a four year old, but he was eighty years older
One of the grandkids started to leave an I-phone around.
I snatched it up and threw it into my trusty back pack.
The nurse nodded at me. “Dick,” she said. “DICK!”
Dad looked past her, not seeing her, or maybe any of us.
It was as if his name meant nothing now,
as if he was as nameless as the TV set, black chair and walls.
“Are you cold, Dick?” He did not blink, smile or respond.
She got right in his face, and spoke to him with a lower voice.
“I am sorry,” she told us. “He is better on sunny days.”
It was raining. After she left he went in and out of people-land.
Sometimes when he looked at me I caught a glimpse of recognition.
He knew he knew me, he did not know how though.
I got him ice water, for that is what he told me he never had.
There was a full pitcher there, but he wanted the good Q.T. ice water
So I went to Q.T. and got two giant foam cups and
gave him the good ice water.
He begged me to take him home. Pleading with me.
“Let’s just go,” he said. “I want to go home! “
My mother had told me I would know when it was time to go.
I listened to the pleading until it stopped.
Then he stared past me, through me, as if I was a window.
He was not my dad anymore.
Just a man who had no idea who I was.
A man who did not know me at that second.
A man who would forget to swallow in a couple of weeks.
Mom was right, it was time to go.
I gave him a little pat on his shoulder, but he
Did not turn or make eye contact or anything.
It was my last visit with my father.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2019