While on the cruise I saw a lot of people. I made small talk with some, smiled and nodded at others. There was this one couple, Teresa & Dave, that we saw in the spa a few times and we had light conversation.
Then one evening towards the end of the cruise we saw them sitting and enjoying some music. Dave stopped us and said to me how much he appreciated that I was spending time with my mom and how happy it was making her. He said he could tell by her smile how much she was enjoying our time together. Dave reminded me that people, not things, are what are most important. (I know this picture of chairs seems to have nothing to do with this, but this is where they were sitting when we talked.)
Dave is 58 and has been diagnosed with Dementia. Really, it’s Alzheimer's but since he’s young they won’t diagnose that. He had an excellent, high paying job, making multi-billion dollar deals and all the stress that goes along with it. His doctors have told him that his job was a large, contributing factor to his current condition. His wife of 30 years has retired so she can take care of him. She’s seen a decline even in the past week. He doesn’t want pity or sympathy, but wants to continue to be a contributing member of society. He’s on the cruise with his wife and their daughter and son in law. They are making wonderful memories which he won’t remember but his wife and daughter will.
I think because of his condition he was a little more open than most people would be with a stranger. He told me that he was a good judge of character and could tell I was a good person. He told me again how important it was to spend time with my mom. At the end, and he apologized if it was inappropriate, he told me that he loved me. Maybe it was inappropriate, as he has no clue who I am, but in those words I heard my dad. It wasn’t this man I didn’t know, but it was my dad. He touched my nose as he said it, much like my dad might have done.
I miss my dad. Two year later and three simple words from a stranger had me crying. I really wish Dad could have been here to go on this cruise with my mom as I know he would have had a great time. However I’m thankful that I was able to go and have this time with her and make these memories. As much as I haven’t wanted to face it, my mom is getting older. She can’t do as much as she could (though she can still do a lot.) She’s getting slower and sometimes I have repeat myself. I’m so thankful she’s moved near us so we can spend more time with her. I’m thankful that she’ll get to be apart of my daughter’s life. When it all comes down to it, family is the most important thing we have. Treasure them. Enjoy them because you never know when they won’t be around anymore.