My father has dementia. On good days when Dad has the energy to engage in conversations, he is pleasantly confused as to who, what, where, how, and most of all, why. And when flashes of his past seem to meet up with our present, I'm most happy he's here with me.
A few nights ago, while eating dinner, images of the last debate filled the TV screen and caught Dad's eye. We talked for a long time about the election, which reminded me of how we used to banter about politics. He could not name our current President, but he let me know how Hillary was married to Bill some time ago. I explained that voting would take place next month and making sense of the two candidates led to more-than-usual levels of confusion for both of us. Over and over, he circled back to pieces of his past to analyze "who" and "why." Of her, Dad said (in Chinese), "She's smart and powerful," and of him, "He's the shoe king, right?" Was he remembering 'Ivanka' brand shoes? I'm not sure. Regardless, Dad cracked a smile and my kids laughed a lot. So I asked Dad who he'd like to vote for? He said (in English), "Hillary Clinton, very smart. Not Trump," to which he added (in Chinese), "...he sells shoes." This made sense to him and me - in that moment, little else mattered.
Ironically, if we had been faced with two new-to-him candidates on TV, Dad may have had little or perhaps nothing with which to connect the dots. By the end of the night, more meaningful than his preference for the next President, my father finished eating his entire dinner and willingly smiled for several selfies with my kids and me. That was a good day.
This goes out to my kids as a reminder to listen a little deeper and try a little harder to make sense of life's confusing moments. Always #chooselove, especially in the years to come when I'm incorrigibly more forgetful than ever. xoxooooxox ❤️
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Owner of HYFA. Original art-work signed GYang. Artist, educator, and advocate ...because art matters. Retired Family Physician (MD)