My dad and I have birthdays two days apart, so growing up we often shared one Red Velvet Cake. Somehow it made it more special. He’s been on my mind a lot this week, I think because our shared birthday is quickly approaching.
He’ll be 81 and is struggling with some of the beginning stages of dementia. Although his memory is better some days than others, the thing I see him struggle with the most is just being able to find the words to say what is on his mind. The thoughts and emotions are there, but all too often he works to bring out words that just won’t cooperate.
We met last week for breakfast, my parents and I, and his hearing aid was being repaired. It meant that he missed out on even listening to our visit. It had been a particularly rough week for me, and as I shared some of my worries with my mom, Dad sat quietly across from me smiling from time to time. And as we readied to leave, I reached out to hug him goodbye. He simply gathered me up in a long hug, kissed the top of my head, and said all the words I needed to hear.
“You’re mine,” he said. “You’re mine.”
Sometimes words really aren’t necessary.