Is there a doctor in the farmhouse?

Dear Hayley,

One of the things I miss most about my dad’s mind, is the feeling that even from a distance he was watching over me. Like, for instance, my son has been sick for the past few days. In the old days, I would call my dad and he’d make me feel better. That calming medical commanding voice. I really miss that. My dad was at his best as a physician. I guess I sort of feel untethered in the world without him. I guess he probably feels untethered too without himself. Way more than me. I just hope that on some level he seems himself as the resident doctor at Juniper Village where he lives.

This is a picture of the farm where my dad grew up. I guess it tethers us to the past. What’s the future gonna be like, I wonder. If this picture was an MRI of my dad’s brain, the farmhouse would be caved in. But every time I think of him, I rebuild it. Right?

Love,

Nancy

Dear Nancy,

I guess Alzheimer’s really ISN’T funny. What the hell were we thinking? Most days it feels like everything you just said. Like that freaking scene in TITANIC where Kate Winslet has to let go of Leonardo’s hand as he slips away through the ice water and she is left…untethered (as you so aptly put it.) It’s that feeling of knowing our Dads are right there, if only we could thrust open the curtain and grab hold of them. Shake them. “Wake up Daddy!! Don’t go!!” and the knowing that we can’t. So  what’s left? Certainly the memories of what was, but also that nagging, ever-present knowing of “what could have been.” …What should have been. I struggle so much with what was “supposed to be.” All the plans, the dreams, the ranch, the farm, the living and the lesson that “what should have been” is really just a daydream. There is only “what is” and sometimes “what is” absolutely brings you to your knees. There is still living between the lines of this disease. I believe it. Our Dads may not understand the profundity of their journey at this point, but we can bare witness. Hang on dear friend. Stay tethered…

Love,
Hayley
Dear Hayley,

You wrote “bare witness” so that’s funny. That will have to be our hilarious moment for the day. But seriously, no one would want to see me bare witness at my winter weight.

Love,

Nancy

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