Would Dad mind that I mention him, that I post his picture on this DementiAwareness blog? That question nags at me.
My father was always very proud of my work as a journalist. And I enjoyed, when he came to visit, that he could open the daily newspaper and read articles written by his daughter. But those stories weren't about me, or him. They did not publicize our family.
This blog sort of does.
It's too late to ask my Dad how he feels about, well, pretty much anything. We can't trust much of what he says (he often says he's hungry just after finishing a meal) so I have to imagine what his response would be, based on the 44 years I've known him. Would he be proud of my work? Or embarassed of the content and its occasional reference to him? Would he feel shame?
My father never sought publicity, at least not for himself. But he was willing to promote certain causes. When I was little, he posed for a magazine cover during the energy crisis, bundled in a blanket for a story about energy conservation.
He was a lover of science, too, and when he watched TV, it was often a documentary or educational program. I remember watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins together every week growing up.
So I'm thinking that if he were in his right mind, my Dad would relish learning about frontotemporal lobe dementia. I think he could appreciate the mystery of the disease, if he weren't suffering from it so. I even think he would forgive me for sometimes referring to him in the past tense, even though he is still alive and, at least physically, well.