I feel especially connected to my father in the moments when I get him to smile, and that tends to happen when he comes to greet me, when I arrive at the home. It also sometimes happens when he shares his jokes with me. His sense of humor is pretty incoherent, but it’s still there.
I can perceive how strong my father’s need to communicate is. To a great extent, he’s aware of his cognitive deterioration; he knows he has difficulty expressing himself and that it’s an effort for everyone else to understand him. My tactic is to be especially attentive to everything he says. He sees the effort, and appreciates it, which helps take the conversation that much further. Knowing what he likes and his points of view also helps me immensely. Thanks to that, starting from words that don’t seem to be coherent, I manage to get what he’s saying and maintain a certain level of dialogue.
Before he fell ill, the relationship I had with my father had a much more rational component. As our points of view on many aspects of life were fairly different, it wasn’t easy to find places where we could coincide and attune to each other. Now, the main aspect of our relationship is emotional. In this dimension, there is total attunement since it is no longer about sharing opinions, but about sharing feelings, which are always present between two people who love each other. Maybe that’s also why those moments when I see him suffer and I don’t know how to console him are especially hard for me.
This tragic circumstance offers me the possibility of helping someone who has spent his life helping me, and this gives me a feeling of satisfaction. I suppose that this is related to the fact that every afternoon that I have to spend with my father always ends up being really gratifying.