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.—-
We were going pretty fast, about 60 MPH, when Al, who I always strapped into the passenger seat with the seat belt, opened the van door. Why would he do this?, I thought. The man who had always put safety first…way above fun. In fact, if it was fun, we were likely forbidden to do it because of some remote possibility of a bad outcome….like going bare foot in the summer. That was forbidden!
So, here he was, opening the door of the van while we were speeding down the highway. I yelled “Dad!, Dad!” He didn’t even look at me…so in a panic, I yelled “Al!” He looked at me, and I sternly said, “CLOSE THE DOOR!” He did. At that moment, I realized that he doesn’t answer to Dad anymore, and I never called him Dad again.