Chennai Journal
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Dad Departs

Today is a sad day at our house, which seems very empty without Dad. As I write this, he, Marty and Sara are on their way to Frankfurt and then to Detroit. Last night we had a little farewell, with Ganesh bringing his daughter and son-- who had visited frequently while he worked here-- to say goodbye to "Grandpa Joe." Leela broke down completely--she has been very devoted to Dad, sitting with him every night as he watched TV after Ganesh had gone home, and holding his hand to accompany him to bed. It was often difficult to get her to take time off, because she didn't want to leave him.

We have been explaining to Dad for several days about his return. A couple of days ago he finally understood that Leela and Ganesh were not going with him. He became quite upset, saying we were kicking him out of the house, but by yesterday, he had calmed down. I sent along the pictures you see here, along with some others,to remind him of his time here. It is at times like this that his dementia seems a blessing---within a few weeks or maybe even days, the whole experience will seem to him as if it were ages ago and blunt the inevitable sadness of leaving such wonderful caregivers and companions. And yet, with all his loss of memory, he has never once forgotten Leela's name--nor, I suspect, will he when he sees her picture. It seems that the things that touch his heart remain clear for him--which is a beautiful thing.

Ganesh already has another job lined up with his service, and will take a few days off before that starts. I am really grateful for Roberta being here (she plans to stay until May) as I would feel totally bereft in an empty house with only Leela, myself and Junior. Although I am returning to the U.S. for a week at the beginning of April, this is the longest I've been apart from Dad for several years, since he came to live with us before my mother died.

So begins another chapter...
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