MONDAY - JAN. 15
The next morning was a fun recall of the night before. We shared our favorite memories. My dad had a difficult time remembering - a lot seemed to be mashing together for him. I asked him about his favorite ride and he seemed to describe a ride that I didn’t recall. He called it “serene” - which I don’t remember from any of our rides…save for maybe some of the calm parts of Pirates of the Caribbean. This was yet another reminder of the importance of taking this time to do this while we had it.
We had to double and triple check everything to make sure we had it on the way out. Thankfully, Chris was there to help get mom and dad into the car. The drive back had relatively light traffic through LA. Siri recommended the 405 this time, which was interesting from a nostalgia standpoint to me as I used to live on the west side many years ago. One interesting note from a standpoint of compassion. There are long stretches of highway five in the Tejon pass that have no services. I mistimed that gap and had a bit too much to drink and…was hurting. Dad was kind enough to allow me to borrow his “Global Deluxe Male Urinal Incontinence Pee Bottle“. This was not the kind of father-son bonding I was planning, but boy am I glad for dad’s generosity in this regard.
Most of the rest of the trip was filled with my dad’s favorite music: Jimmy Buffet, Jim Croce, Buddy Holly, and The Beach Boys to name a few. When my dad hears music he immediately starts clapping, moving and singing. It transports him instantly. He often has a story about the song he’s read somewhere or a remembrance of hearing it at a particular time in his life. I’m grateful for the time machine that is music and its effect on my dad.
While there were many struggles and feelings of being overwhelmed, the trip was an absolute success. Over time, the difficulties and frustrations of life tend to melt away and we have the opportunity to reframe the images in our minds to highlight the best of times - this is a choice. Most people don’t usually take pictures of incontinence, drooling, middle of the night hallucination episodes, or freezing gait. But to deny those are part of the process would be to deny reality. Those are all constant - those and much more.