I really don’t remember much about
one on one time with my Dad,
That’s because there really wasn’t
that much of it,
But those times that there were
I can remember quite vividly.
I can remember the smell
of his Old Spice as he stooped
to pin my felt Santa on my coat
every year before he took me
Downtown Dayton to go Christmas
shopping and see the traditional display
in Rikes’ Department Store window.
I can hear the crunching of his boots
in the snow as he’d walk with me
to Murphy’s Bakery on Saturday’s
for the weekend bread supply.
I can remember him strumming
that ukulele of his and us singing
songs together on the front porch.
His smile was wide and warm and
these times are some in my childhood
I hold dear.
He was known as the “life of the party”,
was an unmerciful prankster, and always
had a war story or two, or three.
Sadly, the longest and hardest memory
was to be watching Dad leave.
In an almost unbearable chain of
events to helplessly witness, it took
nine years for early onset Alzheimer’s
disease to take his life.
Each stage, more devastating, saw
him losing his keys, his way, his boat,
then his car, his ability to recognize
anyone, or anything.
I watched his days become stripped
down to their bare essentials.
Year after year, layer after layer,
he began to disappear from the planet
until he was barely visible at all.
His eyes, once vibrant, were like
looking through milk-glass.
I recall that in an almost instinctive moment
I knew he would go so far one day,
Then no more –
Watching Dad Leave…
Ralph E. Denlinger
© 2012 DiAnne Ebejer