My dad’s vocabulary has dwindled down to just a few words that he repeats again and again and again. And again. “Beautiful. Terrific. That’s wonderful.”

Yes, they’re pleasant words to hear versus, say, many alternative choices, but their meaning is lost.

If we’re driving someplace and the light turns green, he acts greatly relieved as if I have something to do with it. As if it’s a stolen car and we need to make a fast getaway. “Oh, that’s WONDERFUL!” he exclaims.

It is surprisingly fatiguing to spend time with someone who doesn’t really provide any meaningful conversation. I’m a little embarrassed, too, to admit how draining it is getting to spend time with Dad. But…after being with him for 30 minutes on a morning carpool run, I have a greater appreciation for the fortitude of my mother. I only provide a fraction of the amount of care given to Dad.

Last night, Dad wandered into my house and came into the kitchen, saw Tad (my 15- year-old son) and said, “Beautiful. Terrific. Wonderful.” Then he wandered back home, mission accomplished.

Tad turned to me and said, “Mom, Poppy is just so nice, isn’t he?”


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