|Bob in September 2009.|
My father, who suffers from the late-stages of early-onset Alzheimer's, has not been able to live with me for some time. Simple tasks I once took for granted - like eating, walking, talking - have become real challenges. A man who less than two years ago walked all the way from Kingston to Bloomington, albeit unintentionally, is no longer able to stand unassisted. Only five years ago, he had still regularly rode his bicycle over the New York border from his home in Cambridge, New York to West Arlington, Vermont, which only stopped after he had misplaced several bicycles.
Even though Bob's no longer living with me, his presence persists.
Throughout the house, objects seem stranded. His wallet, once full of business cards and cash sits empty and discarded on the top of a shelf in the kitchen, its contents lost and the shell dismissed long ago.
At the end of an upstairs hallway, next to the room where my father slept, is a closet which I rarely open. When I open the door, I'm faced with its contents which flood my own memory of images of the Bob I grew up with, a Bob that worked Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, week after week, month after month, year after year, in his button-down shirts, ties, and dress pants. There they are, each shirt hanging on its own hanger, each tie neatly matched with its shirt. I wonder of the last time Bob put each shirt on a hanger. He couldn't have known it'd be the last, that his entire wardrobe would prematurely be hanging in the closet of his daughter's house.
There are dress pants which I know he'll never wear again.
Despite this realization, I cannot pack up his clothes.