Clearing the fog

It’s only been two weeks since my father passed away, and he’s been in my thoughts a lot, but I’ve noticed something interesting and fantastic about my memories of him as of late.

Dad suffered from Dementia and PPA for about seven years. We watched him decline from a hard-working, smart and funny man into someone who needed constant care. During the last few years, my thoughts of him centered around his care and health. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I couldn’t really see past his current state and my memories of him earlier in my life had become clouded.

Over the past few weeks I’ve found memories of my dad regularly popping into my head, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with some random thought of him or I’ll think about him while doing some innocuous task. But few of these memories are of him as being sick. Instead they’ve been thoughts of him as a healthy, strong and vibrant man, not necessarily a young man, but a healthy and happy one.

Even small details have reverted to earlier times. As dad became less able to care for himself, he grew a goatee which reduced the amount of face that he, or later we needed to shave. But the image of him that’s been in my mind since lately sports only the bushy mustache that he wore for most of his adult life.

I’m not sure why my mind is working this way. My wife suggests that all of the stories that we’ve been sharing about him have reset my brain in some way and maybe she’s right. I’m also guessing that I’m subconsciously trying to concentrate on the good times, which were numerous.

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4 thoughts on “Clearing the fog

  1. voiceofgrog says:

    Reminiscing is simultaneously therapeutic and saddening. It has been a little over three years and I sometimes still remember a half second to late that he isn’t around to call and discuss the book I just read or to share a new band I think he would like. I still “feel” him almost every day though. He’s in the corny jokes I share, the movie dialogues I recite, and the quirky memes he started that are now making their way to my daughters.

    Initially it was difficult remembering the “pre-sick” Dad. He went from a healthy 59 year old to a skin-and-bones, bedridden mess inside four months. The transformation was horrific and it was this shell of my Dad that was burned into my thoughts… Eventually this imagery faded and my recollections are no longer “clouded”.

    Anyway, I think this is a normal progression after losing a parent. And concentrating on the “good times” definitely helps. It is becoming a common occurrence for me to just start chuckling to myself and getting strange looks from people around me… Which leads me into even more thoughts about the crazy, fun things my Dad and I would do together.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. My heart goes out to both of you for losing your dear fathers. They sound like wonderful men. I lost my husband and can definitely understand remembering the good times first. My children and I mention him daily, sharing the good and the bad, although we weren’t able to share the bad for the first couple of years. It was not that we did not think of the bad times, we just could not stomach speaking of them, until recently. Now, we are able to embrace his faults as well, and laugh about them. They are also now comforting to speak of.

    My mother always kept my father alive after he passed, by talking about him. Even though he died when I was young, I know so much about him, as if he was alive my whole life, thanks to mom. I believe we are honoring them by sharing their stories with others. Thank you for your sharing. Beautiful and heart-touching stories!

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