How Alzheimer’s Is Bringing Out the Best in My Dad 

Even though my dad said fuck you to me yesterday, his ever emerging sense of affection makes up for it. He tells people he loves them quite freely now, which is something he only reserved for us in the past. It’s funny, despite being emotionally detached and fearful of not being able to relate to his daughters for most of my childhood, the one thing he has always said freely is that he loves us. His own father never said that to him and it haunted him his entire life. He drank over that well into his 60’s. Of course, what he failed to see was that actions speak louder than words and his dad sacrificed a great deal for him. Something only someone who loved a child would do. But I don’t know the whole story and I know my dad has a lot of unresolved pain from the past. Thank god he’s at peace now because he can’t remember any of it. A strange blessing in what seems like a curse. Yay Alzheimer’s! Either way, in my dad’s mind, saying I love you a lot was critical and so he always made a point to do that, even if he ignored us literally all day so he could watch football lol. While my dad is starting to get a little mean again when he’s upset, his sharp tongue and wit are still intact, thank god. And now we get to witness this soft, affectionate side emerge more and more as his disease progresses. A side I’m sure has always been there but hidden under fear, booze, and this shield he built around his heart. Alzheimers has chipped away at the shield and I’m not sure anything could or would have to be honest. I get to see his affectionate side shine most when he deals with the few caretakers he trusts and it’s truly a treasure to witness. Shelly is a real life saver and we adore her and Derek like they’re family. And they’re so in love with my dad. Watching him through their eyes only deepens my affection for the man. Alzheimer’s is awful but beautiful and a great teacher of both patience and compassion.​

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