Watching Dad Leave

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
1915-1991
Ā© 2012Ā  DiAnne Ebejer
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About DiAnne Ebejer

I am retired and live on the East coast of Florida where I spend much of my time reading, playing with photography and trying to write some "poetry and then some" at dianneebejer.wordpress.com. I care deeply about many things and wish there was much more love and compassion in this world today. I also have a part time blog "Thought You Might Like This" diannesthingsat.wordpress.com used for special projects and occasional things of interest
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16 Responses to Watching Dad Leave

  1. susie says:

    oh my …. oh my. . . . vivid .. sharp …. a timeless essence found here …. dads & their smell … oh my … xo

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  2. Reblogged this on On The Plum Tree and commented:
    I thought this was a beautiful poem/story by DiAnne Ebejer about Alzheimers. I wanted to share it with you.

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  3. That was very thought-provoking, and obviously a topic near & dear to my heart.

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    • I admire you for choosing joy in the face of your illnesses. It is most courageous. What is so sad about Alzheimer’s or any mind robbing disease is that the patient very quickly loses their ability to choose anything.

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      • Yes, that is so true. I just spoke with my mother a bit ago. She asked three separate times in a short span of time if she should wear something warm for the day. She seems content at this stage that breakfast is provided with few options (she thinks). Choosing her meal for lunch & dinner is often a struggle. Making new friends is out of the question. I am very realistic that, all things considered, she is at a very good stage in the disease.

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      • My heart goes out to you as you travel through this very tough journey with your Mother. Love and light to you, her and all those touched by this.

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  4. This is beautiful yet sad. It is also good that you have the fond memories of your father to hold in your heart. But to have to slip away from life little by little forgetting all about what your life was. Very moving DiAnne. Thank you for sharing this. Jennifer

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    • And thank you Jennifer for responding to it in such a kind way. There was a lot of good inside this man and I have lived my life hoping that there was a lot of it inside of me. He didn’t always show it but I was always sure it was there. xo

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  5. Thanks to everyone who liked or commented on this poem/story. It was so personal I hesitated in even posting it but now I’m glad I did. Some people have sent me personal emails and beautiful poems they have written about their own loved ones and experiences so I’m so happy I posted this! Love and light to all!
    DiAnne

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  6. Reblogged this on poetry and then some… and commented:

    As many of you prepare to “walk for Alsheimers” I repost this in my Dad’s honor and all those people and their families who have and still suffer from this life robbing disease. Bless you all for keeping hope alive.

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  7. Beth Ann says:

    Wow. Yes. A million times yes. I can identify and it stinks, doesn’t it? But your heartfelt poetry really speaks to my heart and I love it. Thank you for sharing so much of your experience in such a moving way.

    Liked by 1 person

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