Thursday, May 26, 2011

Corvairs and Conversation II.

So we continued on, Paul driving and asking the occasional question of Dad, me crammed in the back, trying to interact with Dad while simultaneously fearing a repeat of the vomit incident, and Dad, sitting stiffly upright, looking forward out the windshield. We journeyed down to Marymoor Park and drove all the way around, stopping from time to time to look at something but never getting Dad out. Frankly, we were afraid we wouldn't be able to get him back in the car!

It was a little sad for me to be at that particular park with Dad, since we had spent many summer weekends there as a family when I was little. I remembered biking along the bike paths with my family, eating picnics on the sunny fields, and taking walks through the park. I even got married for the first time at the park; a day that Dad was able to fully share, since the dementia hadn't yet struck him. It was a little bit of a bittersweet visit.

But, having made a loop of the park, it was time to turn around and take him back up the hill to his home and what is now the reality of his existence. We pulled in to the driveway of the house and I crawled out of the back seat and hurried over to open his door. He was already starting to try to get out of his seat belt but having trouble. It was heartening, in a way, that he recognized his new home enough to know it was time to get out. His caregiver came out and eased him out of the car and took him back inside, and it was time for us to head back to the city. I have no idea how much of the car he recognized, whether he remembered owning one, or even knew what the heck we were talking about. Probably to him, he was riding in just another vehicle. I think he at least enjoyed the company. But it occurs to me that we don't do these things for our dementia-struck loved ones, we do them for ourselves, to make ourselves feel better, and to touch, if we can, what used to be our loved ones.

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