"You're Kimberly, right?" he asked.
"My daughter, right?" He nodded in a half statement, half question.
"Right." I smiled.
He patted my knee and looked at me. "You know I was married before."
"I know." A little chuckle rippling through my response, "to my mother." (My parents divorced and my dad remarried over 30 years ago.)
We sat in silence side by side on the sofa like strangers on a park bench. I longed to find the question that would connect us back together again. I silently search my mind for one memory we could share.
Talking to my dad is like a waltz these days as wisps of memory dance in and out of our conversations. Timing is everything. Mornings are better than evenings. In person is better than phone calls. Sharing his childhood memories are better than mine. A question answer cadence is repeated over and over-1-2-3, 1-2-3.
God is teaching me many things through my dad's journey with dementia.
My dad can no longer join me in the world in which I live. The present day is missing for him. He often struggles with knowing if it is morning or evening, or even if he is married or not. When I go visit him, I can't expect to have a conversation with him as I have had in the past. He doesn't really know who I am. To him, I have become "that nice young person who came to visit."
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Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.