My Dad is a very kind and loving man. Always has been. But he’s also the type of person that will seldom call or reach out. It may not be an accurate number, but in my entire life he’s probably called me on the phone ten times. Maybe ten. I don’t take offense, it doesn’t bother me — well, it does a little bit, but that’s just who he is and I accept that. I know he loves me.
I live 3000 miles away so I make a point to call him at least once a week. We always have a nice, loving, but brief chat that tends to repeat itself — usually a few times within the same conversation. “How’re you? How’re you feeling? Do you know they put me in a nursing home? I don’t know why I’m here. How’s the weather? When‘re you coming by? See you soon. I miss you. I love you.” It sounds sterile and rote but our underlying father/son relationship is strong.
As he’s getting older and battling dementia, I know every time we talk is a gift. And with a sad smile I also know the possibility of him remembering me, much less reaching out and calling, diminishes as time passes.
I celebrated my birthday the other day. It was very quiet, but a few friends did call to wish me a happy one. Toward the end of the day the phone rang again. It was my Dad. He sang “Happy Birthday” to me, then told me he missed me, loved me, and would see me soon.
That three minute call made my day special. I got all misty-eyed. He had never done that before. It was a beautiful moment, but it was also bittersweet knowing it will probably never happen again.
Lon Casler Bixby is a professional photographer and published author in various genres: Fiction, Poetry, Humor, Photography, & Comic Books.
See his writing here — www.amazon.com/author/loncaslerbixby/.