Tag Archives: children

Love Them and Let Them Grow

“If I know Becky,” my dad says, “she’s going to spend the next two weeks saying to herself, ‘Is she ok?  Is she having a good time?  Is everything going alright’?  She needs me!  And if I know Skylar,” he continues, “she’ll just be having a great time, being the life of the party, leading everyone around.”

He’s right.  On both accounts.

It’s day one of her two weeks at sleep away camp.  I miss her.  I was on the verge of tears last night as she’s never been away from home this long.  I am thinking all those things my dad said I would think.  I’m also wondering how I get through these two weeks without her.  I always do.  I’m a worrier.  More accurately, I’m a planner.  I like things orderly and under control.  I like to be able to anticipate the next move.

One common theme I hear from many parents who have lost a child is that they don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.  Problems no longer seem so big, so daunting.  Not after the unimaginable loss they’ve suffered.  I wish I could say that was the case for me, but conversely, it had just seemed to make me into someone who now finds themselves acting neurotic.  Suddenly everything seems to be an issue.  Little things feel like big things.  I struggle to keep every moving part in its place.  I want consistency.

Some parents of child loss have told me that they actually find they are distancing themselves from their children.  It’s a psychological need to guard their hearts.  Hearts that can’t handle another loss like the one they’ve already suffered.  A preemptive attempt to soften any oncoming blows.

I understand this thought process. My reaction after the loss of our Miss Elliott, however has been to grip everything tighter.  To hold on a little longer.  To savor every second, even after it’s gone.  Feeble, I know, but nonetheless, if I could will time to stop I would never let another second tick by.  I’d live in this current moment forever.

The struggle is to find balance.  I haven’t (yet) let the neuroticism take over.  I actively try to make sure that I’m allowing her to grow and thrive, and experience life on her own terms…well, sort of.  Evaluating every day to ask myself; was I too strict, too permissive, etc.  What’s the magic formula?

My husband tells me it’s the worry that let’s you know you’re a good mother, because really, when you break it down, worrying (within reason) just means you care.

First Day

First day of kindergarten, eight years ago.  Ready to take on the world from day-one.

 

She’s strong and outgoing, and like my dad said, she’ll probably be running the place by the time the week is out. We joked that there’ll be no tearful phone calls home in the middle of the night asking us to come pick her up.  And I’m proud.  Proud of her strong will, gumption, and tenacity.  Proud of her unbroken spirit, outspoken opinions, and every-present resiliency.

After the summer she’ll be going into eighth grade.  I only have one more year until she’s in high school.  How did it happen?  Where did the time go?

The most important lesson my parents have taught me that carries over into my own parenthood is just to “love them”.  In the end it’s the only thing you really do have control over.  Just love them, and let them grow.

 

 

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A Grieving Parent’s Growing Pains

“Good night”, she said.  “I love you.”

“Good night.  I love you too my sweetheart”, I replied.  I was reading on my bed when she came in.  I watched her walk away and marveled at the amazing young woman she has become.  And I questioned how it happened, when.

I blinked and here we are.

We spent the weekend attending various graduation parties.  Life is in full bloom for these new young adults.  Their wide eyes begging to take on everything in sight.  The increasing pace of their beating hearts palpable to anyone near them as they overflow with the anxiousness to take that first step in their new journey.  Laughter and joy abounds.  Their parents, an incompatible mix of immense pride, yet also the lingering pangs of sadness over that fact that they will soon be leaving, the fact that they are no longer needed the way they once were.

“Five years and we’ll be here ourselves”, I tell my husband.  I can hardly believe it.  Just stop I plead with Time.  Just wait.  Just give me a little longer.  Where did it go?  Was I even present for it?  I can’t remember it, I think to myself.  Where was I?  What was I doing?  When had she stopped being a little girl?  Have I done enough, taught her enough, instilled in her our values so she adopts them as her own?

I become misty eyed, feeling like every mother must, in losing my little girl to womanhood.  I know my time with her is limited.  And I know that she, like every other child who grows up, must want the freedom and ability to experience life on her own terms, too.

Then, on the other hand, I’m grateful for every bit of it because she’s growing and flourishing.  When I look at her, I see all the same magic and inspiration I see in the eyes of those graduating seniors.  And I want her to have every bit of goodness and opportunity the world can offer.

I try my best to prepare her.  I’ve never wanted to fill her head with fairytales. I tell her it will be hard, she’ll have to fight for what she wants, push through her trials, and to neverSkylar take a back seat. I encourage her to purse her dreams, with the understanding that being smart, while she is (astonishingly so), isn’t enough on its own so she knows she has to be willing to go out there and go after what she wants instead of sitting around waiting for it her find its way to her.

As much as it pains me (but of course I’m proud of her and happy for it) to see my child changing before my eyes; becoming her own person, blossoming into a being all her own; not needing me, I know that the alternative is far worse.  I know from experience.  And there is deep sadness.  The hole in my heart reserved for our Miss Elliott, gone more than five years now opens a little wider in these moments.  In the undeniable moments that reaffirm each time we live through them that there will never be these milestones and celebrations for her.

I will never know who she would have grown into being.  What she would have accomplished.  Whose lives she would have changed.  She will always be three years old.

As the gap between my girls continues to widen exponentially, I can only hope she will carry her sister’s memory with her as she navigates the roads of life.  When she has no siblings at home to share secrets with, fight with, turn to, or champion one another I can only hope that in her heart she feels a connection to her sister and knows she’s not an only child, even if she has to live this life as one.

I hope she will use her loss to propel her to reach new heights in both love and life.  I know that she is by far more compassionate and understanding of others and their own plights, at such a younger age than she would have otherwise been.  And while I would have never asked to place this burden on her, as a grief counselor once told me:

“We must be good stewards of our grief.”

     In that spirit I will not wallow in my sadness,  I will not stunt her own growth and development, but I will use it to further advance my daughter’s dreams and aspirations as she grows and matures, to the best of my ability, in honor of a beautiful life cut far to short.  In honor of the live I have, and always will for both my beautiful girls.

Better Than Me

“She’s beautiful!” they tell me.  And I know she is, not just in my eyes, but by all conventional American standards, she is.  Chestnut eyes, straight nose, high cheekbones, supple lips, long flowing dark, but sun-kissed hair, and easily tanned skin.  She’s gorgeous.

“She’s a mini you, gorgeous like her mommy”, they say.

“Daddy’s got his work cut out for him,” they continue.

“Hope he carries a bat”, it goes on.

And it’s fine. I beam with pride at the shallow, and ultimately meaningless compliments, like any other mother would.  But she’s so much more than that.  And that’s the true, total package.  She works hard, brings home straight A report cards.  Is artistic, and creative, and thinks outside the box.  She’s a friend to everyone, caring, compassionate, and thoughtful.  Easy going, quick to lend a hand…obviously I could go on and on.

Skylar

Skylar, Age 11

My point is, that I relish it as my own success.  As a mother, I want nothing more than the best for her and for her to be the best, at everything.  I’ve never understood the theory that mothers and daughters clash because once a daughter comes along the focus is suddenly taken off of the women who had it on her since childhood.  Essentially that her mini-replacement has come along and she’s no longer the star of the show.

What?!  As a mother I truly don’t understand this.  And I think if you feel that way, you probably shouldn’t have had children at all, at least not in this stage of your life because it seems to me that if you aren’t able to put them before yourself you can’t have their best interest at heart.  I want my daughter to be prettier than me, stronger than me, smarter than me, and more successful.  I want her to have it ALL.

“I’ll bet she looks just like you at that age, Becky”, someone recently told me.  Ha!  She couldn’t have been more wrong.  I was gawky with no style,  big glasses, and a bad perm.  No, my daughter seems to have not had to endure the same awkward phase that plagued me from the ages of eight to fifteen.

Me Age 10

Me, age 10 with mid 90’s
style choker and Seinfeld Puffy Shirt.

Conversely, I’ve also endured comments related to my daughter’s looks as more of a consolation prize rather than a compliment.  When Miss Elliott was alive, I distinctly remember one person, upon learning of her terminal status remarked , “Well she sure is pretty, and you can love her anyway”.

WTF?

I mean, thank goodness she was pretty too, right…or there would be no reason to love my dying child as I love my heathy one.

photo 1

Miss Elliott, age 3 years 3 1/2 months

Okay, I know people don’t mean the stupid things they say to sound so ridiculously degrading, but honestly it’s so tiring that sometimes I would rather they just stay silent.  And if they simply can’t muster up that ability and feel compelled to have to say something, let it be a simple I’m sorry.

I know you can’t imagine.  I know you don’t know how I do it.  I know (insert your own meaningless platitude here), but none of it matters or changes the situation.  A simple I’m sorry, is really the only thing of value you have to give me anyway.

And for the record, Miss Elliott was pretty.  She had bright green eyes, milky smooth skin and hair far lighter than I could have ever imagined any of my children being born with (all three thanks to her Daddy’s Irish ancestry).  And I loved the hell out of her.  I still do.

And I wanted better for her, too.  Better than for me.  And do you know what?  She got it.  She knew nothing in her Three Short Years but unconditional love.  She never endured pain, rejection, or abuse.  She lived and died a perfect being with a pure soul.

These things, more than just our little girls being pretty should be what we celebrate as accomplishments in parenthood, and life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tales of my Dead Daughter

Soul Pic

I was recently having a conversation with someone where I referenced my daughter and used the line; “before Miss Elliott was dead…”.  I instantly recoiled at the chastening sound of my words and began to feel as though I should apologize for not using a euphemism like the word passed instead, as society has taught us all to do in order to act mannerly.  Other than perhaps catching her a little off guard with my bluntness, I don’t think the person I was with minded at all.  And then I was annoyed at myself.

In a situation like this why would I let the feelings of others (even those only perceived or imagined) make me feel guilty over my word choice?  Was she any less living?  As if to say she had passed and was not just dead would somehow be kinder or less emotionally charged for the person hearing the words?  No matter how I put it, I still have a dead daughter.

We all use euphemisms from time to time either out of respect to those we are speaking to or to gird our own feelings, but when should we refrain?  When should we realize that to use them actually downplays the significance or magnitude of the event and that we should instead just spell it out frankly?  Give it the credence it deserves.  Does not a dead child demand such an overture?

Be thoughtful, but also be bold.  Don’t shrink away from the intensity of the situation just because it makes you uncomfortable.  Recognize it.  Respect it.  Embrace it.  Show those whom you are speaking to that you understand the level of importance this event holds in their life and honor it with your words.

I Was Too Ashamed, So I Lied.

Last night at the elementary school my daughter attends we went to watch her and the other fifth graders give their presentations at Night of the Notables.  It’s an evening where they present their research projects on historical figures who helped shape America as we know it today.  I think this is a great idea.  When you combine history and research, then couple it with presentations, it’s an active and engaging way to learn.

What I wasn’t so stoked about was my daughter coming to me on Monday morning telling me that she had to dress up like Queen Elizabeth I for her presentation…tomorrow…night at school.  “Oh yeah, I had a flyer about it in my Friday folder,” she said  Great, I thought.  Time to get creative.  In a mad dash to the nearest thrift shop I was on the hunt for some Elizabethan type anything I could fine.  Since it happens to be the week of Halloween there was actually plenty of items to choose from, if I wanted to shell out $39.99 for the dress plus additional money for accessories that is.

I did not.  Maybe if she would have been using it as her Halloween costume as well, instead of just for an hour at a school event I wouldn’t have minded so much, but she wasn’t.  So instead I found some used junk I thought I could piece together and for $12.00 and change I created an (albeit more Victorian than Elizabethan) dress for her to wear.  I sewed all day.

Voila!
Before and after:
Before
After

I knew this would be good enough for the fifth grade home room event, but I also hopped my daughter would like it.  That she would appreciate it and the time I put into it, not just expect it to materialize without a second thought.  Truthfully, it annoys the crap out of me that schools tell kids they have to dress up, and that part of their grade it dependent on it.  Just like it frustrates me how much parents are asked to spend on school supplies or even field trips these days.  Let alone, pictures, sports, events, classroom magazines and other materials.  Yes, some of these are required, and some are “optional”.  But even for the ones that are “optional”, if you don’t “choose” to participate, your creating an outcast of your child.  A line drawn in the sand of haves and have-nots, of doers and don’ters.  We’re just lucky that we’re able to be a family who has the ability to pay for this never ending list of school room needs.  What if other families honestly don’t have the money for any of it?  It’s not always as simple as being a lack-luster parent who’s not engaging enough and not putting enough care, concern, or emphasis on education.  Sometimes it’s about not having the money to do so.

The reason I was so gung ho to track down an outfit that day, to pay money for it, and spend my time sewing it together was simple:  I didn’t want my daughter to feel like I did.  I too had a time when I needed to dress as a historical figure in school…and my grade depended on it.  It was seventh grade, and I was Helen Keller.  I remember so clearly how all the popular girls, the ones who wore Calvin Klein and Doc Martens, got together over the weekend and rented period specific costumes from the local community college’s drama department.  I was so envious of them standing in their exclusive circle talking about how they went together with their mothers over the weekend to make sure they had the perfect costume to wear that day.

I wore a ribbed white t-shirt, Levis, and imitation combat boots from K-Mart.  I thought these things were nice because they were all store bought, and for once not from a yard sale, but I still knew they weren’t cool.  I knew better than to even ask my parents to help me put together a costume.  There was nothing in the house to use and I knew the money wasn’t there to buy anything.  There was no extra money in our house, period.  And I didn’t want to make them feel worse than they already did by asking.  I already knew they wished they could give me more.  I knew that if the money had ben there my mother would have happily driven me down to the drama department and I would have had a fabulous period dress on that morning too, but I didn’t.  So I lied.  I got up to make my speech and included a completely made up portion about how I dressed this way because my (Helen Keller’s) favorite thing to do was to wear my brother’s clothes because they were more comfortable to run around and play in.  The teacher didn’t buy it, and I got marked down for “not dressing up”.

Of course I knew it was wrong to lie even then, that it always is, but at that moment I wasn’t strong enough not to.  I was too ashamed so I made what felt like the easier and less embarrassing choice.  In reality, no child should ever be made to feel this way over something so completely superficial and out of their control, but in reality they do.  I’ve never told my parents, or anyone about that day.  Like I said, I didn’t want them to feel even worse because they couldn’t provide what I “needed”.  As a twelve year old girl, I wasn’t as attuned to speaking up for myself back then as I am now, so I just took the lower grade my teacher doled out and went on with the day feeling crummy.

It shouldn’t matter, but I want to make sure my daughter always has  what she needs to be successful in school, like the perfect costume.  It shouldn’t matter, but it does.  I want to make sure she succeeds, and in my mind part of that means making her feel like she fits in and doesn’t have to hold back because the money isn’t there.  My husband grew up in the same type of household and he too understands and shares the same feelings of being an outcast because your family didn’t have money for new clothes or extravagant Christmas presents like other kids’ families did.

Adolescence is an awkward time that’s hard enough with the pressure you get from other kids.  Children shouldn’t have to worry about it coming from the adults in their lives too.  Teachers should know better than to add to it and should be more sensitive toward these situations, especially in the public school system where you encounter all ranges of diversity. Furthermore, as adults (who interact with children daily) they should understand, without a word, when a child cannot willingly or openly share how uncomfortable they are when they may not be able to ante up, so to speak, along with the rest of the group.  And they most certainly shouldn’t be docked participation points for it.

Queen Elizabeth I in action:
QEI

I think her smile shows just how proud she was of her costume, and from
a child who’s already gone through so much, that smile’s all I need to see.

Father’s Day, Tay-Sachs, and The (Beautiful) Now

On October 3, 2012 I was having a terribly difficult day.  It was Miss Elliott’s birthday, her fifth and the first I was to “celebrate” without her.  I was wallowing in pity and sadness for myself.  I told my friend, Dr. Eric Fier that I was having a hard day.  He told me:  “We must find meaning in our misery.  Otherwise, it is pointless, no?”  That one simple statement propelled me out of my state of sorrow and into action.  I began writing the book about my Miss Elliott’s life that would become Three Short Years.  I was comfortable confiding misery in Eric that day because as the father of a daughter who had also been lost to Tay-Sachs he understood how I was feeling and why, from an insider’s perspective.

Below you will find the beautifully intimate guest post by Dr. Fier that he has so graciously written for this blog in honor of Father’s Day.

~~~

“Glimpses of love and joy or brief moments of deep peace are possible whenever a gap occurs in the stream of thought. For most people, such gaps happen rarely and only accidentally, in moments when the mind is rendered “speechless”… Suddenly there is inner stillness. And within that stillness there is a subtle but intense joy, there is love, there is peace.”
–Eckhart Tolle (“The Power of Now”)

I could recite his stories as if I lived them; as if I was first-hand witness to the dopamine-infused ambition that propelled my father past any reasonable assessment of risk. He joined the Air Force on his 18th birthday, as intent upon fighting the Nazis as he was upon escaping the forces of tedium at home. Returning from his 10th bombing mission, his B-17 was shot down over German-occupied France.

New Years Eve, 1943; I was minus 24 years old.  He was hidden by the French underground; captured, beaten, and imprisoned by the Gestapo; and ultimately liberated from Stalag Luft 3.

By the time I arrived, he was transitioning from an intense 20 years as a highly-decorated New York City cop to a cush desk job with the feds. While it still indulged a few of his novelty-seeking A.D.D. non-sensibilities, it ultimately involved far less bombing and shooting. His moods cycled between painfully bored and deeply depressed.

“I was raised by a father living in the shadow of the version of himself he most missed,” I recently told the imaginary shrink in my head. It was as if his life was lived between 1943 and 1969. The next three decades simply served up a re-warmed melange of reminiscence and eulogy.

Our relationship was one of warm, respectful non-engagement. And as I busied myself with the ill-conceived challenge of maintaining an unsustainable image of perfection in his eyes, I completely missed that he was doing very much the same. He re-told and re-lived stories of his heroism as if it was the only defining aspect of his life, the only proof of his worth.  Memory of the past was the primary vehicle affording him access to a sense of value.

And then it was gone.

I used to think of Alzheimer’s in the way I used to think of Tay-Sachs, before Rachaeli: a cruel, insidious usurper of all that defines you. Any neuro-degenerative process, I thought, leaves you a lesser version of what you once were.

And as my father’s Depression morphed into Dementia, I watched him fade into an adult-sized version of a frightened child — perpetually searching for an ounce of the comforting familiar. Sometimes he asks for his mother; sometimes he just shakes his head and cries; sometimes he refuses to swallow his pills; sometimes he kicks at the door; sometimes he will only eat dessert.

I push back against my own depression as I internalize that I am now the father to the child that is my dad. I am, for the 2nd time, raising a child I cannot save.

Phrases I came to detest — like “quality of life” — again re-entered the lexicon of my psyche.
Again I am praying that what looks like pain is not.
That what seems like fear is not.
That what resonates as loss is not.

Today my father is 90.
For one year, I am precisely half his age — the same age at which he became my father.
After 45 years, it seems our roles switch. The OCD within me strangely enjoys the intrinsic  symmetry.

Most days, his speech is jumbled and confused and filled with neologisms courtesy of cortical volume loss. I resist the urge to press for a translation, and try to look beyond the words.

I decide that the First Two Commandments of Improv Comedy apply nicely to communicating with someone with dementia:

1. Don’t feel the need to speak. Sometimes just look at your partner and connect.
2. When you do speak, never negate what your partner has said; only “Yes, and…” them.

It is Father’s Day. He does not realize it, of course, but he seems to trust me on such things.

He smiles and waves when he sees me. He is not sure exactly who I am, but I am familiar in a positive way. I find a seat next to him in the makeshift living room where he spends most of his waking hours, surrounded by others who look at me as if I might be their son, too.

He smiles again and grabs my hand tightly, looking at me as if I haven’t been here in forever.
It’s been 2 days.
He calls me by his brother’s name and asks me how I am.
And then we sit.
The choreography of our time together is not terribly complicated:
I will stroke the back of his head, right where his silver hair emerges just above his neck.
I will run my hand up and down the top side of his thigh.
I will plant spontaneous kisses on his perpetually scruffy cheeks.
And we hold hands. A lot.
Most visits, we don’t speak much. Pleasantries, mostly — and even then, I’m not sure they matter. Anything informational seems unimportant, if not a distraction from what matters: just BE-ing.

And so we do. We just BE.

There was a time when it mattered to me if my dad knew the day of the week or the names of my kids or what city he was now living in. It was important that he remembered the hero that he was. The lives he took; the lives he saved; the lives he created.

I needed his dementia to be merciful, selective, patient in the reaping of his memory.

It has not been.

Sometimes I bring him albums filled with pictures and articles detailing his war experiences or his years as a decorated cop. He smiles with a look of polite unfamiliarity. He will nod and sometimes point to his name beneath a photo. But it fails to elicit a visible sense of pride or even significance. The past is not simply non-remembered now; it’s non-relevant. As is the future. Speaking of what we will do next week or next month or next year is immaterial. He will remember none of it 10 minutes from now, much less by the time tomorrow arrives.

He lives completely and exclusively in the Now.

The staff inform me that an hour before I arrived, he was crying and kicking at the door, insisting he needed to “go home.” When I ask, my dad says he’s had a great day. “I’m behaving,” he promises.

“No kicking the door?” I ask. “No kicking the door,” he repeats.

He also tells me he hasn’t had breakfast yet, though it’s 11 AM and I can see vestiges of scrambled eggs on his shirt.

The Now is all that exists.

While he sustains no identifiable memory of his past accomplishments, he also seems to carry forward no recollection of past pain. He has forgotten that my brother is paralyzed. He seems unaware that his parents have died or that my daughter has passed. News of such things visibly upsets him… And then, after a moment or two, it’s gone.

He is similarly free from worry about the future — a construct that matters little in the Now. He doesn’t ever ask about what “will be.” There is no formulation of future potentialities about which to obsess. There is no future-focused fear. He lives exclusively in this very moment, as exempt from worry about what will be as he is about what already was.

And so we BE.

We speak little as I stroke his hair and rub his leg and plant small kisses on scruffy cheeks.  I allow myself to join him in the (beautiful) Now.

“When the compulsive striving away from the Now ceases, the joy of Being flows into everything you do. The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace. You no longer depend on a future for fulfillment and satisfaction — you don’t look to it for salvation. Therefore you are not attached to the results. Neither failure nor success has the power to change your inner state of Being. You have found Life underneath your life situation.”
— Eckhart Tolle

It doesn’t take me terribly long to realize that I am already familiar with this entity, this Now, in which my father lives. For 9 years, I was gifted with the chance to explore this timeless, unboundaried space. As my daughter relinquished each of her physical capacities to Tay Sachs, Rachaeli was unable to meet me in my world. Mine was, of course, filled with benchmarks and milestones and standardized measures of growth and development and accomplishment — all plotted over the axis of linear time. And none of which leaves much room to celebrate a child with a neurodegenerative (read: one way) illness. I quickly realized that I may choose to mourn what is not, or celebrate what very much is.

Once I learned to listen differently, I heard Rachaeli’s invitation to meet her in the Now.
This required leaving behind all expectations — silly paradigms written for imperfect souls.

To be deeply present with my dying child, I needed to relinquish recollections of her past and mental forecasts of her future. I needed to remember that her soul is unbound by time; that all we have — perhaps all there is — is Now.

In this Now, I learned to hold Rachaeli just so: to support her head as I allowed her posture-less frame to rest comfortably in the cradle I created with my arms, chest, and lap.

I learned to speak in non-words: in whispers and soft kisses and sighs and mmmmms — a language in which our souls became completely fluent.

When her waves of seizures hit, I learned to hug through them. To fold her into my arms and lean into the seizure. To remember that this physical process simply represents another form of invitation to hold her tightly and align our souls. And I learned to de-emphasize linear time: where she was 6 months ago or where she would be 6 months from now became completely secondary to the beauty of this very moment.  So too,  what I’ve accomplished, earned or created was of zero relevance to my daughter. My successes and my (many) failures were wonderfully immaterial. All that mattered was this very moment. All that mattered was Our Beautiful Now.

In his text on Kabbalah, “God is a Verb,” David Cooper describes this state of being as the “Binah (level of) Consciousness.” He writes:

“The experience of being in Binah Consciousness is completely sensual. One does not dwell in reviewing past events or in planning for the future. There is only the experience of each moment as it arises. In this state of mind, each sound is exquisite, each visual impression unique, each odor is captivating. Once we are free of our sense of our own selves, we enter a state that is often defined as rapturous. Quite simply, it is delicious to be alive without having to remember who we are.”

Sometimes when I sit silently with my dad, he will spontaneously begin clapping his hands — for no identifiable reason but (what I presume to be) the sudden experience of joy. Sometimes he will blow kisses at no one in particular. Or sing a song he has clearly made up. Sometimes he will squeeze my hand tightly, lean over and whisper, “I love you, compadre” — as if it’s a secret. And as if I’m Mexican.

I am learning to celebrate these moments of joyfulness.
I am learning to relinquish my anger at Alzheimer’s.
And in moments of (seeming) pain, confusion, and fright, I’m slowly learning to remember that they are simply moments. Moments that will pass. Moments that I need not “fix.”
These are simply moments in which he is asking me to hold him tightly and align our souls.
An invitation into the Beautiful Now.

Thank you, Rachaeli.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Eric & R
Eric and his daughter, Rachaeli
Read more from Dr. Fier at http://www.rachaeli.com