my dad wasn't really himself for about 5 years before he died. first, my mom died and that sent him into a profound spiral of grief, of course. he had some odd experiences between that time and when he had a massive stroke 16 months later. he would tell me he'd hear his mother in the kitchen, talking with my mother. it really spooked him. he would get out of bed and come into the kitchen, it seemed so real. he was living in the assisted living facility during these 16 months.
i saw him several times during those months. tho living in texas, i flew up a number of times. i took on the task of dealing with my mother's clothes and so on. i remember that one trip in particular. i didn't want my father to see me taking my mother's clothes out, so i suggested he stay downstairs in the facility's library, which he did. i packed everything up (my mother had a LOT of clothes), got it into the car and donated her clothes to a battered women's shelter. i think she would have liked that. my father liked that idea.
i saw glimpses of the man i knew as my father during those months, but he was so devastated.....
one of the things i miss the most are his awful, terrible, corny jokes and puns - the expression he would get on his face right before the punchline - you knew when it was going to be an especially good one. i always tried to have a couple to share back. i remember once telling him about a fish with a skin condition who had to go to the doctor, a specialist. the type of specialist? why, a plastic sturgeon of course. i never heard him laugh harder than at that one. i miss my dad.