By Deidre Reed
It’s Father’s Day, the first one since my dad passed six months ago. Tomorrow is my birthday. We’re in church, my mom and me.
I lit a candle for my dad, but by the time we got to the last row where my mom’s wheelchair fits, it had blown out. Being full of magical thinking and even more full of guilt, I spent a good while staring it down, willing it to spontaneously light up again. Certain the dud wick meant that my dad was still pissed at me from The Big Upstairs. Maybe I’m still a little pissed at him, too.
Halfway through the sermon, the family to our right – all five of them – doubled over with the giggles. That has to be one of the greatest feelings ever, when you get the giggles in church and just. cannot. stop. I nudged my mom and whispered that it reminded me of that Christmas Eve service, remember? Where we’d sat behind that lady with one roller left in her hair, right smack in the back of her head? We’d taken turns pretending to pluck it out in slow-motion while stifling snorts.
If you’ve ever known someone with dementia, you know that weird things can set off barking laughter, and that did it. But when my mom laughs now, it turns into something that sounds like she’s wailing and choking and possibly dying. It echoes, people sometimes shift and look away. Continue Reading…