Michael has met the family. Well...most of them. He's yet to meet my sister and her husband, my niece, or Melissa and her bunch, but he met my brother and sister-in-law (the toughest) and he met my dad. A while back Michael voiced his worries about my family liking him. I brushed them away. I told him that my family was all encompassing. They pull you in even if you are a stranger and make you one of their own. Ten minutes after introductions, Katrina pulled a notebook out of her purse, looked at me and Michael and said "Now. What are the things that the Cabbage is into? What's her clothing size?". It's been a really long time since we've had a little girl in our family. Amanda is the only granddaughter and she's all grown up now. The women in my family, well...Katrina at least, are chomping at the bit to buy little girl things. One time I was talking about all the things I was going to buy for the Cabbage and Michael said "you're going to spoil my kid aren't you?". My reply was "yes", but I also told him that there would be a line of others right behind me. I think maybe he finally got that this weekend. So many of you have asked me how my Dad is doing after I posted that picture on fb Saturday. I haven't replied to anyone because I wasn't sure how to reply. It is a surreal experience to visit a parent in a nursing home, particularly when that parent is in a "special needs" unit that is kept on lock down for their safety. Katrina had warned me that Dad had been having trouble remembering my name. So I was surprised to see the look of recognition on his face when we came in. In fact, he knew everyone except Michael, who he pointed at and said "who's this guy?". Dad is dad. He pulls his chair in front of his room door so that he can sit and watch people go by, sometimes snagging someone to talk to. He cries a lot, but not necessarily because he's sad. He's just lost the ability to control that. He asked me and Randy all about Michael. I'm not sure why he thought Randy would know the answers. I think maybe he was trying to figure out what my brother thought of this man. Dad asked me if Michael lived close to me and I said "well....he used to, but now he lives with me". Dad, without missing a beat, said "Oh! That's too close". And then he laughed. He still has his goofy sense of humor. He still is confused and is easily agitated. He worried about us visiting in the cafeteria because he thought they would kick us out to prepare for supper even though they had just eaten lunch. He was also adamant that I tell Michael that he hasn't always been crazy. He said that to me several times.
I wanted to tell Dad that he's not crazy. That yes, his new home very much resembled a scene from any mental institution you've seen on TV or in the movies. I did tell him once that he wasn't crazy, that he has just lost his memory. But I suppose I am deluding myself. He has a disease that attacks the brain. Of course it's going to make him crazy. It's just not easy to admit to myself that my dad has slipped away or that he's been slowly disappearing for some time now. And it's not easy to see the person he's become. The only thing that gets me through are the glimpses of the dad I know. The dad that makes the silly jokes or points out the ridiculousness of the situation is still present and with us. I don't know for how much longer that will actually be the case, but I'll take it for now.