On my journey through life, where have I landed this week?
Early in the week, my wings took me across town to the home of my father for what started out as a simple lunch together. I brought the food. We sat in the sun room. We ate, almost in silence. There is nothing to talk about. I try, but the result is a series of inane remarks that I have difficulty wordsmithing into something that will not sound too complicated or intelligent. How many times can I comment on the weather, present past and future? How many times can I strip all the luster out of my own life so that I don't overwhelm? How many times can I forget who I am and fight the urgent need that he has to be whoever it is he thinks I am? Does he even know who I am?
I try to make conversation, try to convey the compassion that I truly do feel. Try to let him know that it is okay to miss Mom, that he does not have to be scared, that it's okay to be confused and need some help when you are ninety one and alone, without the person who guided your every move and sat with you in your sun room for three meals a day, every day, for all those years.
But, he only sees what he wants to see, hears what he wants to hear and fears what he fears the most, the lack of his independence, a one-way ticket to a death house, a nursing home. His biggest fear. He sees me as the threat. He's afraid that he will slip up, that I will notice that he is slipping.
My biggest fear is that this quiet will go on for too many years, that I will have to sit in that sun room too many times, watching him evaporate into his loneliness and isolation, searching for words that will allow me to visit his dementia. Aging as he ages. Pretending that he is still entitled to his independence while mine is dwindling as his needs get met.
So, we sat in the sun room, quietly eating our lunch. Both of us missing the one and same person who hid the keys to the gates of our biggest fears.