Friday, January 27, 2012


I made the trek over the lake to visit Dad today. They had just finished lunch in his house, and he was still sitting at the table, staring out the window, with a cup of fruit juice in front of him. After exchanging some news and business with his caregiver, I sat down at the table and he looked over at me. I said hello and smiled at him and asked how he was. He's been relatively talkative lately, so I wasn't surprised when he actually answered me and said he was fine. What did surprise me was the recognition I thought I saw in his face and eyes.

For a year or so now, I've been fairly certain that he no longer really knows who I am. My close friends ask me often whether he recognizes me and I usually respond that while I think he may know he has a connection of some kind to me, he no longer knows my specific place in his life. On his bad days, I think he views me suspiciously as one more person there to make him do something he won't like. In the last few months, however, I've mad a real effort to visit as often as I can, and I think it may be having an effect!

Today we actually almost had a conversation. His caregiver can't resist coming over when I'm there and interacting with Dad, showing me, I think, that Dad is still present and that the caregivers are trying to keep him that way. It puzzles him that both Dad and I are not the most talkative of people, preferring usually to listen when we're in big groups. He and I have spent hours together with only a few words exchanged, and I think existing together is just as important as expounding. So today Dad was almost talkative, and he kept looking at me-and when he did I smiled at him and looked into his eyes so he could see that they were exactly like his. And each time I smiled, he smiled a small smile back. I don't think I've actually seen him smile-at me- for a very long time.

Do I think he knew me? I can't say; it seemed like he may have. And while I tell my friends. mostly honestly, that its okay that he doesn't know me any more, that I've done my grieving about it. I have to admit how lovely it was to see that tiny possible spark of recognition, or at least what I like to believe was recognition.

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