His speech was getting worse, but if you looked in his eyes you could see he knew what he wanted to say. His body just wouldn’t let him do it.
Eventually nursing homes start to feel like the last half of the movie Aliens, when they go into the subbasement. It’s people glued to walls who, if you’re listening, are just begging you to kill them.
So I stopped going as often
Every week the woman who kept robbing his room told she’d give me back my grandfather’s hoodie if I filled a request. “Just throw me out of the window.“
I wanted to say, “Madame, if you fell out of your chair you would shatter. If I threw you out the window you’d look like an expressionist painting.”
Days fishing, trips to museums, his explanation that Deanna Troi and William Riker on Star Trek were from another world so their sexual relationship wasn’t the immoral kind, just a different sort of marriage
He was a man of dignity, and as time wore on he just got worse. Eventually he could barely even give single word answers and was on a diet of “thick nectar” because he could seldom handle solid food.
Worst of all he had to wear sweat suits every day. For a man who wore a suit six days a week it felt like spending purgatory in a TJ Max; a seemingly unending existence where you’d always look sort of shabby.
Sometimes a week or two would pass without me going to visit him. I worried that I had a finite amount of memories, and creating new sad ones would somehow record over the happy old ones.
On the good days I visited we would play a crude game of catch that was mostly just him squeezing a Nerf ball. When he wasn’t aware, or able, to respond I’d comb his hair.