If you’re a friend or follower on Facebook, you probably have learned about my father’s passing.
For those who don’t know my story, I haven’t seen my father since the early 90s when he was institutionalized with Korsakov’s Syndrome, a degenerative mental disease caused by alcoholism.
Its main symptoms are confusion, senility, loss of memory, inability to form new memories, confabulation (making up stories), and hallucinations.
All my life, we’ve had a strained relationship. But after losing my mother a couple of years ago, I knew I wanted to see my father at least one last time.
So last year, after being estranged for 20+ years, I’ve met him at his group residence. It was arranged by his sister, my wonderful aunt Estelle, who took amazing care of him all these years.
(Estelle, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Words cannot express my gratitude. When I need courage, I simply look at you.)
It’s no secret that my father’s condition wasn’t getting any better. This includes progressive loss of brain function, including what’s required to sustain life. I suspect it was the cause of, if not in large part contributed to, his heart failure.
Yesterday morning, he left this world peacefully during his sleep. From what I’m told, he didn’t suffer.
To my friends and family members who asked, I will know his final arrangements once I meet with the funeral home on Thursday. Thank you everyone for all your thoughts, condolences, and heartwarming wishes.
I don’t have many pictures of my father. But here are some from my childhood, and the most recent one from my visit last year.
(On the left is my sister and me with my dad, circa 1976. The one on the left is mid-80s, I’m thinking ’83 or ’84, during my teen years.)
To my father…
Dad, in an indirect way, you taught me what it is to be a father.
Despite your illness and addiction, you did the best you knew how. You may not have been the best role model, but you were certainly a reminder of what to do and what not to do.
So I guess I can say, “Thanks, Dad.”
I’m so glad I had one last chance to see you. You didn’t remember me the next day, but at least it was a chance for me to say “goodbye.”
May you now rest in peace.
Your son, Michel.