A week ago tomorrow was Mom’s birthday. She flew in that day so she could spend it with Dad and me. My brother, Terry, flew in the next day to visit all of us. Jeanne and I took Mom out to dinner on her actual birthday, and on Friday, we all had dinner with Dad at his Assisted Living residence. Outside of the secure unit, there is a very nice dining room that is set up like a restaurant – with menus and daily specials. We can take Dad out there any time we want – his meal is included in his monthly fees, and the staff has given us some coupons for complimentary meals for the rest of us. Jeanne and I try to take him out there at least once every week or so. Hopefully, this summer, I will be able to do more of that.
Friday afternoon, I went to visit after school. Terry and Mom were already in Dad’s room, but it was too early for dinner, so we sat and hung out for a bit – watching TV, giving Dad the paper to “read”, and visiting. Mom spent some time re-folding and re-hanging some of Dad’s clothes – generally straightening out his closet. I was working on a crossword puzzle and Terry kept trying to engage Dad in conversation about what was in the paper.
All of a sudden, Dad looks up, sees me across the room, and says “So, Chrysti, what do you weigh these days?” Those of you who know me know that this is somewhat of a sensitive issue for me – especially in front of my mother. We all froze. Terry and Mom tried to look as if they weren’t waiting for my reaction. When I got my tongue back from the cat, I said, “Well, Dad, that is kind of a personal question.” He said “Yep.” I told him I thought I would keep that information to myself, and in the way that only Alzheimer’s patients can speak their mind, he asked “You’re not skinny, are you?”
We all started laughing – my brother, my mother, and even me. I mean, how could I be offended? He was just saying what came to mind. His disease removes the filter that polite society puts on us. And the truth of the matter is, I am not skinny. I don’t think I have ever been skinny. I don’t think Dad understood why we were laughing, but his next comment made me laugh so hard, tears started streaming down my face. When I replied, “no, Dad, I am not skinny”, his response was “it looks like you might have overdone it a bit.” Gotta love his brutal honesty. It may just be the motivation I need to shed some pounds!