Once a month, I write a letter to my father. I tell him the latest news, as pertaining to my little family. I write about the weather, I write about how the kids are getting so big, I write about how much I miss him.
And I do.
But I'm going in now to the states for a visit, and I'm scared. I'm scared of what I will find. I am scared of what is left.
Everytime I go back for a visit, he is diminished, less, in body. He is so skinny now, his fine-boned face skeletal, his arms and legs like threads. But this time, I have been warned, he is diminished also, and significantly, in mind.
I don't know how to continue this post, how to lead it to its positive ending. The last paragraph should read something like--and he's so special, and so wonderful, and still has a beautiful smile. But I'm crying as I write, and I can still picture him as he was just last year, and he was so much better then!--and he made me cry then, too.
Am I just supposed to appreciate each moment? Is there a way that I can say that that doesn't sound trite, a way that I can say that and really feel it? Enjoy this visit. Maybe next visit he won't even know who you are. Enjoy this visit. Maybe next time...maybe there won't be a next time.
Maybe his wonderful smile should be enough for me. I want his wonderful smile to be enough for me. I will kiss his bony cheek and hold his hand with the slender, tapering fingers that I did not inherit, look into his green eyes which I did, and tell him that I love him. And when he smiles back at me, it will be enough.