Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas cookies.

Every year during the holidays, my mother made cookies. And we're not talking just two or three batches of cookies... My mother's goal was to make as many different varieties of cookies as she possibly could. I remember holidays with fourteen to fifteen different types of cookies lined up in colorful tins on the book shelf. We each had our favorites, of course, and quite often those tins would be empty by Christmas while others were still full. My Dad, in particular, liked peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses baked on top.

Not being as dedicated, or crazy, as my mom, I usually make three types of cookies during the holidays; two of my favorites, and peanut butter cookies for Dad. Each year, however, Dad has been less and less aware of the holiday in general, and of cookies in particular. This year, as in past years, I brought over a box of my Dad's favorite cookie because I enjoy seeing him enjoy them. Unlike past years, though, this year Dad's caregiver had to feed the cookie to Dad while he sat on the couch, staring straight ahead.

I have no idea what his taste buds are like or what food messages are getting to his brain. It makes me sad to see that he can no longer feed himself, indeed seems somewhat indifferent to food. This whole process makes me sad, and the question always comes up; am I doing these things for him of for me? I can only hope that he enjoyed his cookie and on some level remembered them and the happiness of past holidays.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Seeing Dad.

Lately...I've been seeing my Dad, everywhere I go. It's very strange. I'll be walking along, or in a store, or getting into my car, and I'll see someone, usually from behind, and I'll instantly think, "That's Dad!" And, of course, my rational brain then kicks in and I realize that my Dad absolutely could not be out and about downtown Ballard, for example, and that he is, in fact, probably snoozing in his chair at his home. And it's not always even men! I glimpsed a woman and my tricky mind saw something about my dad and thought, again, "Dad!"

I don't know what, exactly, is going on in my mind. When I look more closely at these people, I see that they don't look anything like my father-but there is some feature, some expression, some physical aspect, that instantly reminds me of him-and I think I see him. Sometimes it's height, or a lanky frame. Sometimes its a glimpse of big, bony, capable hands. I've seen him in a man wearing chunky brown glasses or a flannel shirt. Sometimes its just a thick, gray-white head of hair. I see my Dad in many people these days.

As to why it's happening more and more? When I visit Dad now, I see him get more and more frail. He's slipping away from me bit by bit, and the process seems to be accelerating a lot lately. My dad and I did not always see eye to eye, nor did we always have the best relationship when he was lucid. He's been sick a long time, and it's become a normal state of affairs; but now that he's getting worse, I'm starting to see the cold grip of mortality around him, and I'm already starting to miss him. Does this happen to anyone else? I wish I knew.

So I think that's why I'm seeing my Dad so many places he couldn't possibly be. I think my heart just really wants to see him, active and out in the world again, instead of slowly slipping out of it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I've been busy, or out of town a lot due to wedding activities and haven't had much time to write. It's been interesting to continue to experience this life-changing event without any parents or much family. I visited my Dad right before I left for my wedding just so I could tell him again what was happening and feel that connection to someone who knew me from the beginning, even if he couldn't comprehend what I was saying now. I've been meaning to visit now that we've got our wedding pictures to show him, but haven't yet had the time. I have not been completely without the blessing of my elders, as I experienced on a recent trip to my husband's family.

His mother was kind enough to throw us a party so that everyone, family and friends, who hadn't attended the wedding(which was tiny and private!) could celebrate us. The party was full of people I didn't know and had never met and I was a little apprehensive going in. These were people who had known my husband and his family for thirty or forty years, and I was definitely being submitted for their approval! The overwhelming feeling, though, was that of the elder generation recognizing and welcoming someone into the clan, and that was a really lovely feeling, and one I don't experience anymore in my own family.

My father is the only elder left in my social and family sphere, and he's not present. Plus, my parents didn't really have many friends, so there wasn't that important older social group for me to fall back on. I've been on my own for this. I missed my father, and definitely wish he could have been present during this joyous event for me, but barring his ability to be present for it, I have to say how nice it was to get a little taste of that elder generation, even from people I had never met.