A Letter To My Father
Posted on March 17, 2011
You’re never going to read this. I know because you’ve stopped reading books and magazines since it’s difficult for you. So maybe this is for me or maybe it’s just something for the future. It tore me up when you apologized for not being able to read my last book. Of all the things for you to be concerned with, it’s one that should matter the least.
This hasn’t been easy. I’ve asked myself a hundred times why I didn’t see the signs sooner or push to have you tested sooner. Maybe we could have slowed things down more than we did. There are lots of questions and no answers. We never heard of this running in your family, so where the heck did it come from? More questions again.
I had a dream last year where I was still living at home with you and Mom, got up early like I did all those years ago for school and you were sitting on the couch in the living room. We talked like we used to and you understood exactly what was going on, and that you were losing your memory. I was interacting with the part of you that is locked up deep inside now. I know you’re still in there, but it’s nowhere any of us can reach anymore.
You were always patient and slow to boil, logical and spontaneous, serious and yet playful. I’ve tried to become the man you set the example for and there are times I’ve failed quite miserably. The only thing I can hope for is that any successes I have will outweigh the bad. Unfortunately, with you, I feel I’m failing.
Mom and I tell ourselves again and again that you’re not doing anything on purpose. You legitimately don’t remember that you’ve asked us the same thing over and over and over again. You don’t remember that you bring up the same 10 subjects each and every day. Logic doesn’t mean anything to Alzheimer’s. Mom and I realize that, but it’s easy to lose our patience when we’re around it for a long period of time. But, again, it’s not your fault. We’re the ones who have to change. We’re the ones who have to adapt.
It scares me to think of you realizing this is happening to you. This wasn’t how things were supposed to be. It scares me to think of you being scared because you’ll one day forget who we are. It scares me that Mom isn’t going to have you the way you two had planned on for retirement. Just know that I’ll do my best to take care of her and that she’ll always be loved. I love you, too. There are so many things I want to catch up with you on one day, but those will have to wait and that list will continue to grow.
This feels a little like I’ve hit midlife crisis at age 40. Who knew we’d have to think about such things now? Some of this really hasn’t sunk in yet and I’m trying to let it. I still haven’t cried over this and gotten the poison out of my system, which I think would free my emotions up a bit and help me help you better than I have.
There are changes coming. Ralph knows it and has already offered his support in my lending you a bigger hand than I’ve been able to so far. The boss at my day job is also being more understanding than he has any right to be. Most places wouldn’t be willing to work with an employee like this, but he understands the value of family and I’m very grateful for that.
I don’t want to pass into the next life one day and have you standing there with questions regarding my behavior. God help me, but that’s not the first thing I want to see or hear. I want to be able to look at you and Mom both, see in your eyes that I’ve tried my hardest and that you know no matter what happens, I want to do right by you both. I want you to be as proud of me being your son as I am of you both for being my parents.
Please forgive me for the times I’ve screwed up so far and the times I’m going to screw up. I’ll try to get it right as best I can. I may not always succeed, but I’ll try.
I love you, Dad.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
3 Responses to “A Letter To My Father”
March 17, 2011 at 9:55 am
I just wanted to let you know that I will be thinking of you. You have been an inspiration to me and this touching letter just solidifies that fact. I can’t possibly understand all that you are going through, but know that I am always here if you need to talk.
March 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm
First of all, a big hug from me. Sounds like a very difficult situation to be in, and I hope that you and your family are managing as best as you can. My gran has a crystal clear memory for very, very old events in her past, but often confuses or forgets members of her family and more immediate events. Your dad is very lucky to have such a caring son. All the best to you.
March 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm
First, a belated thank you, Jeff. =) And I do hope you never have to go through this.
@vlw We’re managing. I’m not so sure about how well we’re succeeding, but we’re trying. Some days are worse or better than others with no way to predict how it’s going to be ahead of time. And just when you think you have a handle on it, something happens that collapses the house of cards. It’s given me plenty to think about for this Thursday’s blog.
Thank you both for the kind thoughts.