For My Father… (printed on back of his tribute program)

The following is a blog I wrote about my father on February 11 of last year.  I now have an addition to make…

 I’ll Watch The Snow With You

My mom and I had a discussion about my father today. For those of you who do not know, my father has a condition called “corticobasal degeneration”. It is, in a nutshell, similar to Alzheimer’s and is every bit as cruel and heartbreaking. It is neurological and irreversible. Two words I have grown to hate in the last year. We began to notice that something was not right with my father about 3 years ago when he began walking almost as if in slow motion and would stand with his arms drawn up into his sides. As time progressed, we noticed that he was having trouble remembering little things. Fast forward to the present…

Today my father doesn’t always know who we are. He is confused much of the time and the most painful part for us as his family is the feeling of complete and utter helplessness just having to sit by and watch this happen to someone you so dearly love. My father is not in any sort of physical pain and for that I will be eternally thankful. He is, unfortunately, keenly aware that something is not right with him and I know it frightens him.

Some days dad doesn’t know where he lives and some days he can’t recognize who we are. The first day I witnessed this happen at his house was just a few months ago. My dad couldn’t name one of Jessica’s children and in that tiny instant I felt like the whole world fell apart. We try as hard as we can not to let him see us cry, although it isn’t always possible. I can’t speak for Jessica or my mom, but I try to save my sadness for the privacy of my car or my home. We want dad to know that we are all okay and that we are always going to be here for him. We’ve told him this many, many times. I’ve often thought about how terrifying it must be to have your memory slowly leave you. Years and years of family trips, experiences, life- just trickle out little by little. I can’t really let myself think about it for too long because the feelings are just too overwhelming.

My mom told me today that she saw my dad standing in the hallway looking through the glass pane of their front door. She said that he turned and looked up the stairs and shouted out, “Amanda, come down here! Look, it’s snowing!” My mom said, “I’m sure he thought you were a little girl and still lived at home with us.” I don’t know where my dad was at that moment in his own mind, but I want to make a promise to him. This is the best way I know to express it:

I’ll watch the snow with you, Dad

No matter where you are.

I know sometimes inside your mind

It feels you’ve traveled far.

I’ll watch the snow with you, Dad

However you see me-

A woman grown with children now

Or pig-tailed girl of three.

I’ll watch the snow with you, Dad

And if you forget my name,

Please don’t feel sad or think I’m mad

I love you just the same.

I’ll watch the snow with you, Dad

Wherever you may be.

I’ll watch the snow with you, Dad

I’m just glad you’re here with me.

Addendum: On the evening of Tuesday, January 4, 2011 Jesus decided it was time to let my father come home. It was the saddest, most beautiful, and most victorious moment I’ve ever experienced.  The following day several family members went to the funeral home to see dad one last time.  The moment we stepped out of the car our Heavenly Father, in the most breathtaking fashion, sent down a beautiful and gentle snowfall.  Snow had not been predicted until the weekend.  My mom and I held a private conversation inside and I whispered to her, “You know I wrote that poem for dad about watching the snow with him.”  She immediately responded, “Yes, Amanda, I thought about that too.  The only difference is this time you’re looking out at the snow and he’s looking down on it.” 

I thank the Lord that He gave us this sweet reminder.  We have been blessed that a lifetime of snowfalls will forever hold new significance. 

Thank You, Jesus. We love you so much, Dad. ~Amanda

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynn Hamer
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 14:45:12

    This is beautiful! You are in my prayers!

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  2. Lora @ my blessed life
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 15:54:13

    Amanda,
    I remember reading and loving your original post on this. Your addition at the end it so touching. I know you’re missing your dad now and I’m so sorry, but it’s wonderful to know that you will one day see him again and spend eternity with him. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers.

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  3. Stephanie Walkers
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 16:07:08

    Beautifully written, Amanda. You continue to amaze me with your words and insight. I love you sweet cousin, Stephanie.

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  4. Cynthia Hutchinson
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:38:41

    Amanda,
    Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It brought tears to my eyes and a big smile to my face! I’m so glad my dad now has another friend in Heaven- even though I know you miss him so much. My dad loved the snow, too, and would always come wake me & Jennifer up when it had snowed. He’s been in Heaven for over 28 years, but moments like that will stay with you forever. The other one is him taking us in the car to the parking lot at either Chaffin or the mall to do donuts in the parking lot! It was always so thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Take care, dear friend!
    Cynthia

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  5. Trackback: For My Father… (printed on back of his tribute program) | Manda's Wonderland
  6. Kathy Coffey
    Jan 04, 2016 @ 16:39:31

    I am in awe! So touching and beautiful. May God give you what is needed for the now.

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  7. Doug and Geri Gray
    Jan 05, 2016 @ 10:43:22

    Amanda, I discovered your blog through a FB post of your mom’s. Being friends with your dad is one of my best childhood/youngmanhood memories. As you know, he was one of those people it was impossible not to like. And, until you mentioned it in one of your posts, I had forgotten his sense of humor. “Dry” might be an understatement. You seem to have the same problem I do with blogging: keeping at it. You’re a very talented writer, which is to say that writing comes as natural to you as breathing. That’s my take, anyway. So push through those times when your muse seems to be hiding out somewhere. Often, I’ll just open my blog page and start typing. More often than not, something amazing occurs. Thank you for sharing your talent and your memories of Tripp. (If I ever wanted to get under his skin, and we liked to do that to each other, all I had to do was call him “Tripper.”)

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    • mandaclair
      Aug 26, 2016 @ 21:45:40

      I have been gone from this site for so long, but what a sweet message yours was to return to! Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for being a friend to the most wonderful man I’ve ever known. I miss him everyday. I’m taking your advice. I need to write. I’ve missed it. Thanks for the “push” I needed. 😊

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