Travels with Dad
—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-
“I can’t go it alone for much longer”, is probably what my father was thinking, as he walked along in a blinding snow storm heading west through town. An angel appeared in the form of a State Police Officer, and offered him a ride. He willingly took him up on the offer and jumped into the back of the police cruiser. The officer said that Al looked really glad to see him.
It was early evening, and back at home, my mother went looking for Dad to give him his evening medication and a snack. He was nowhere to be found. She looked out the front door, and sure enough, there were size 12 footsteps in the snow, heading down the driveway. She grabbed her coat and ran out the door. The tracks turned right at the end of the driveway. She continued running, following the tracks to the end of the road. She stopped when she saw that the tracks turned left, heading up a very busy 4 lane road. Al was not in sight.
She turned around, ran home, and called 911. She also called me, and I began a plan to assemble a search party. It was cold and snowy, and no place for someone who is so vulnerable. I stopped rushing around for a moment and had flashes of a search party spending the night looking for him and not finding him. I considered that he would eventually be found dead in a snow bank somewhere. I thought about how horrible my mother would feel if this situation ended in such a tragedy. I snapped back to reality, and forced myself to breathe, stay positive, and continue with the plan to round up a search party.
No sooner did I resume that process when my phone rang. It was Mom, telling me that Dad was home safe and sound, and warming up. The police department had begun and ended their search, and had Dad home within 10 minutes from the 911 call. He was only a mile away. He arrived home sitting like a diplomat in the back of the police cruiser.
He got out of the car, closed the door, and said to my mother “I’d hate to have that job!”
As the excitement wore down, and we breathed a sigh of relief, we counted our blessings, knowing full well that we dodged another catastrophe!