We have finished day 8 of the vaulted man being sealed up tight. The words are locked up fiercely between the Spring clogging up dad’s mind and seizing his senses and the Alzheimer’s playing tricks on him. It’s been a tough week for both of us. For my dad, the fears are getting more real. People went from stealing from him to attacking him and trying to kill him. Once a strong virile man, mentally and physically, now reduced to constant fear of his life.
Last week had been so promising. We wrote a poem! We began another. I thought I had found a way to communicate with my dad, a tool to unlock those precious memories and stories we kids so strongly crave to hear. But today, as I used the anaphora of “I know this…,” a tool that has worked so well in writing with others, did not work well with him. He was shut pretty tight. He started with a trite saying, “You get what you pay for,” and as I encouraged him, he continued with strings of sayings.
From past experience, I have learned that it’s okay to start like this; because as the conversation continues, the locks come off, and we can access a distance memory or two. These experiences are delightful to watch as he climbs into his little boy character and he is wild and free, even if only for a little while.. But today, as I said, the locks were on tight. He didn’t go on an adventure, and he was done before we barely got started.
When dad’s head get’s what he calls “fuzzy,” (full of snot and a lot of fear of releasing emotion), he has to go with a promise to call back….and the call never comes.
But this time, when our call was done, and I read back my notes, I realized some gems. These sayings of my dad can be used throughout my book where I want to make sure the character is coming through. And I also realized something else. WE were talking about HIM, not the weather, not fishing…HIM…and for my dad, less than a year ago, these things would not have been said. The process has been slow, and it’s hard for me to imagine how I will get the much needed information to write his story, but it’s been a story getting the story. AND, I am on a journey WITH my dad. And that is enough.
Things don’t always look or sound the way we would like. There definitely deserves to be an attitude of gratitude. And the silver lining is that there is hope for day 8…today could be the day…