Never Goodbye

Navigating the Journey through Dementia

Hoping Dad would bask in truck crash memories awhile longer, I worked on my computer-based business. However, Dad was still set on proving his survival capabilities.

While chatting on the phone with our neighbor Brenda, out of the corner of my eye, I saw dad wearing a silly straw hat as he headed out the door. My mom bought that beach hat years ago. Fifteen manly golf caps hung on hooks inside the door entry area. Yet Dad sidestepped grabbing one on his way out. As he waved and scurried out the door I thought, “Who is going to see him anyway? He is just going for a walk in the woods.”

Then I heard an engine revving, and with the portable phone in my hand and Brenda still on the line, I bolted out the door to chase after him. He pulled out in the burgundy Chevrolet Lumina that he had come to call “the red car.” As I raced toward the car, yelling as loud as I could for him to stop, he became aware of my commotion and stepped on the brake. At least there were no dogs riding in the front seat with him.  I noticed his seat belt was fastened, but the door was ajar. Seat belts fulfilled a new purpose–they kept you from falling out of open car doors.

Out of breath, I asked him where he was going. He hesitated and with a look of confusion replied vaguely, “Oh, just down the road”. A bit of questioning revealed he was headed toward the woods. I asked him not to go far or take long because dinner would soon be ready. As I walked  toward the house, I warned Brenda he was headed her way. She said she would watch out for him. But, a  few minutes later,  he pulled back into the carport. The mailbox held an enormous stack of mail, which distracted him from his drive to the woods.  So, he returned to weed through the mail.  A remnant of his old routine reasserted itself–a welcome break from recent adventures.