Is He Still There?
Growing up, my father was difficult and strong-headed. At times, unable to be reasoned with, as sometimes men from our motherland can be. However, most of the time he made logical decisions of sound mind. If we disagreed with him, he usually had a good reason for being so headstrong.
Recently though, it seems we are dealing with the same stubbornness but for smaller things and for sillier reasons. The behavior is less stubborn old man, and more tantrum-ish toddler. I guess what I am writing for is a solution.
Apathy and depression
What I think we are witnessing has less to do with Parkinson’s directly and more to do with the apathy that comes with being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A question we are often asking ourselves is: is the behavior from the disease or is it because he’s given up the will to care very much about anything?
According to multiple studies and a vast amount of personal stories all over the internet, much like this one, apathy is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Without fail, each study and article leads to the inevitable conversation of Depression, with a capital D, as another symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Both are symptoms and emotions and one is even its very own disease.
He is tired of trying
The issue does not lie in recognizing or even pointing out to him what he is feeling. We know. He knows. Good lord, at this point, you guys know. We all know. He’s over it. He’s over trying. He’s over caring. He’s just not here for it anymore. He just doesn’t want to even try and change any of it.
I know it is selfish of me to say what I am about to say. And believe me, I can hear myself saying the words, “She is making it about herself.” I have friends who have parents that aren’t involved in their lives and can’t give them the privilege of an active parent. But I also have friends who have parents they really rely on, parents that are parents.
This isn't really him
And it is unfair to say he hasn’t been one because he used to be a parent. A really good one. For someone who didn’t grow up with a dad, he didn’t do a terrible job of it on me. But I guess that makes it harder. How much I remember him caring and asking about my life, my studies, my future.
Now, it’s really all about him and what he is dealing with. My solace knowing this isn’t really him, it’s a version of him that is dealing with his disease, a conflict that can only be resolved by the disease being magically cured.
Grieving the memory of who he used to be
My mother called me recently and said I don’t call him enough. Especially now that I am living far away and he is home alone, I should call more. It’s hard though. I don’t think I’ve quite come face-to-face with who he has become. This isn’t the parent I remember.
I guess a part of me doesn’t want to face it: this new man is my father. He is wholly and entirely the man who was part of my conception and raising me. He’s just different.
Someday, many, many years from now I hope, I will stand at his funeral and grieve his death. But in some way, in the privacy of my thoughts, and the dark of my brain, I feel I’m already grieving. He’s gone and I’m not sure if he’s coming back.
Which of the following caffeinated beverages do you regularly consume?