Why I Call Him Al…

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.

My weekend pal, Al.

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4 Responses to Why I Call Him Al…

  1. Maria Wulf says:

    It’s so telling that you called him Al. As if you were no longer daughter and father but just two people.

  2. I never read something so short that said so much.

  3. Ann says:

    Whoa! Quick thinking! Don’t you wonder why you suddenly called him by his name,instead of Dad? I mean,ya,you were panicked,but you could have blurted out a number of things in a panic!!

  4. Care says:

    That is really interesting. I did wonder why you called him Al. It reminds me of when we were kids and my Mom wouldn’t answer us, we would always say “Rosemary” and she would look right away!

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