Conversations with Dad

One of the most surprising aspects of my dad’s bout with Alzheimer’s disease is how it has flip-flopped his relationships.

For as long as I can remember, my dad was in a hurry and very pre-occupied. If you wanted to spend time with him, you followed him, like a duckling behind a duck.

On Saturday mornings, my younger brother and I would be tossed in the back of our Ford Country Squire station wagon (complete with fake wood paneling!) to accompany Dad on his errands. (Actually, I think the reason was to get us out of our mother’s hair. My older sister and brother, like most teenagers, slept til noon.)

That was the pattern for as long as I can remember…I trailed behind Dad to spend time with him. And even if he was sitting still, his mind was elsewhere. He was thinking about work, mostly. He owned his own business, and it was the kind of industry that was hit hard by economic cycles. Despite his optimistic nature, Dad could never relax.

But now? Now Dad wants to tag along on errands with me. I try to save up a bunch of them just to give us something to do together. Just to use up his surfeit of spare time.

Dad is content to be a passenger and ride along in my mini-van (which, my kids tell me, is equivalent to a Ford Country Squire. Not cool.) Six months ago, Dad liked to go into stores or dry cleaners with me. Not now. He just sits in the car, like my pups do, happy to wait and watch people walk by.

The other day, when I dropped him back at his Board and Care, his face fell in disappointment. “Aren’t there any other errands we can run?” he asked.

For some reason, that makes me sadder than almost any other part of his Alzheimer’s.

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. angela says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    I feel sad about your father. My husband is a lot like your dad used to be, can’t sit still, but God has a way of making us relax, doesn’t he?