Today my father turns 85. It has been roughly two decades that dementia has been eating at his mind, but he has never given up on life. Not when he gave up on driving. Not when his wife of over 20 years locked him out of his own house, then plotted to take whatever fortune he had managed to pile up over the decades. Not when he entered a secure Alzheimer’s unit—well, he was not happy about that, and even escaped over the fence once, but meekly returned when he realized that the world on the outside was more perplexing than the humiliations he suffered on the inside.
My father moved to a more comfortable place nearly six years ago, and after a rough year or two there, he returned to the sweet, gentle person that he has been most of his life. He may not be the thoughtful, wise observer of the human drama that characterized much of his life, nor does he have the independence of the wild geese that he so loved. But he still shows flashes of his great humor, and he remains a living presence that continues to teach and inspire for those who pay attention.
Update: My father David A. Bremer passed away on March 27, 2021, at age 87.