I kneel down to tie the laces on his shoes. Again, he’s in those brown loafers, the ones which he insists on wearing daily, no matter their shabby condition. Hesitantly, he gets up from the chair. He stands almost erect as his back seems a little stiff today. The small red tote bag on the counter is filled with his necessities: an eight-ounce bottle of water, an egg salad sandwich with extra mayo and sweet pickles, wet wipes safely stored in a zip-lock bag, and a diaper. I check it twice to make sure we have everything he needs for the day.
Placing the tote over my shoulder, I take hold of his hand as we head out the door. He tries to pull away once or twice, but my grip is firm, and I don’t let go. He’s humming a familiar tune. I can’t make out what it is, but I join in to bring fullness to the melody. He gets into the car, and fidgets as I adjust and fasten his seat belt. He looks up at me and demands to know where we’re going. He hates medical appointments, so I lie and say we’re going for a drive into town. I shouldn’t deceive him, but there would be a lot of screaming if he knew the truth. As I walk around to the driver’s side, he struggles to unhook the clasp on the belt. With a little haste, I make it to my seat before he is able to unfasten the buckle. With the roar of the engine I turn and say, dad, we are on our way.
Written by Arlene Antoinette – Valrico, Florida, United States
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Precise compassionate internal dialogue of a caregiver. I know that language.