There are a lot of reminders of my father in my life. I have come to realize that for myself, in his death the most important reminders are the tangible ones- the ones that you can see, touch and hold. Maybe that was a direct result of his illness and disease. I don’t know. I’m sure anyone that has lost a loved one no matter the circumstance holds close those tangible reminders. I do know dementia forced me to rely on memories even before my dad passed away. I was not prepared for that. I did not fully comprehend what exactly I was going to need to remember regarding my dad.
I am not referring to memories of family trips, weddings or graduations nor countless other various life events. Those are memories that all people have. But rather I am referring to all those “things” that are now the memories that made my dad my dad- his contagious laugh, his voice, his silly sayings and his often profound words of wisdom, etc. I cannot remember the last time my father and I had a real conversation. Or the last time I heard his voice dementia-free. And that is deeply bothersome to me. I can never get that back. No matter how hard I try those memories are unfortunately gone forever like yesterday. There is not much in this world I wouldn’t give up to hear my dad’s voice again in his prime. Instead I am left with the voice of my dad in my head. And who knows, perhaps one day that voice will suddenly disappear prematurely and become one more thing I was not prepared for. Inevitably, with dementia it is a disease that is almost always diagnosed years down the line- such was the case for my father. The disease got a head start on me. . .
Perhaps the most interesting tangible reminder of my dad is his underwear that is now mine. Yes, I am wearing my dead dad’s undies. To be fair however, my dad never actually wore these respective undies, my mom bought them and had every intention of giving them to him, but that never came be. Instead after my dad died my mom asked if I wanted his underwear- I said yes. After all what guy doesn’t need underwear? Come to think of it I don’t think I have ever bought a pair of underwear in my life. I certainly have never treasured underwear like this before. They are more than just boxers, they honestly help me remember all the memories that made my dad my dad. Kind of bizarre if it wasn’t actually true.
(The underwear image attached to this post are not the undies I inherited.)