Dad’s Journey: Where Is The Past?

I’ve suspected Dad was losing his ability to reason. He’s always been a process thinker. He examines consequences for decisions and then proceeds. He was successful in the retail real estate world.

Dad was hired by Leon Wiener to be the real estate expert at Wiener’s Stores. This was after 20 years in the U. S. Air Force. Dad parlayed his intelligence, skill and managerial experience into a lucrative career.

It’s also important to tell you Dad was an alcoholic. He drank in excess nearly daily for 25+ years. In 1984 the Holy Spirit touched Dad’s heart. Dad was led to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. From that hot August day to this day Dad has not had a drink. He did it “one day at at time.”

More importantly the Holy Spirit led Dad to a real relationship with Christ Jesus.

Dad hurt a lot of people during his drinking life. Dad helped a lot of people in his sober life. He made friends with many, many people. He learned and taught the precepts of AA. The Holy Spirit taught Dad to seek God’s narrow way.

Today he has great difficulty remembering his childhood. He can tell you he was in the Air Force, but he cannot describe his career.

Dad had tours of duty in far away and exotic lands. He told many tales of his adventures while serving our country. Those stories are now Dad’s history because he cannot tell us any longer of the things he accomplished.

Dad barely remembers his time with Mr. Wiener. Every once in awhile Dad will recall an event or a person. He is able to start his story, but is not always able to complete it. I am grateful that he told me much of the highlights of his career. When Dad gets stuck sometimes I can give him a prompt that kindles a memory and he can continue. There are times when all Dad has is a blank stare. I think he is searching for something, anything in his memory banks that will help him along.

Dad does not remember living in the country. About twenty years ago Dad bought a house that was built in the late 40’s. He moved it from New Ulm in Austin County Texas to a prairie homestead in rural Waller County. Rehabilitating the house took him almost all fifteen years. Dad loved his time at that house. Sadly, today he just doesn’t remember being there.

His friends from AA visit and he barely recognizes them. Two good friends are regular visitors. He recognizes their names, but not their faces. He knows he has a relationship with them. He knows they are brother and sister in recovery. Dad was a mentor to them as they grew into sobriety. I am grateful to them for continuing to show their love for Dad. At the same time I know their visits will slow.

He remembers me, but he couldn’t tell you where I live. I think he remembers me primarily because I am a son. It’s probably helpful that I am Dad’s best friend in these days. It makes it a little easier to remember who I am. Dad remembers my wife without any problems. That’s not a situation I can explain, but I don’t have to have “all” the answers.

Some days Dad has constructed in his mind scenarios that lead him to conclude that I have ulterior motives. He is not very pleasant to be with during these moments. He won’t make an outright allegation, but the assertions that I am not meeting his expectations are clear.

I give thanks to our God that He has led me to patience.

Dad remembers Don and Rich are his sons who live on the West Coast. On Sundays while Dad was in the Care Center when I visit I “text” my brothers and alert them that I’ll be with Dad. I encourage them to call. They do. The conversations are pleasant and Dad seems to be fully engaged. Unfortunately, Dad doesn’t remember talking to either of my brothers at any time.

I am grateful to God that my brothers are understanding. Dad is better after they talk. I pray they are better for the experience too.

About Jim Barnes

A man seeking to please the Lord. A man striving to abide in Christ Jesus. A man whose hope is to see just one more come into the fold.
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