Even though Dad is now retired, Mom still goes into the family business 3-5 days a week.  She is ultimately preparing the company and its books for her retirement in a few months so that she can be with Dad fulltime.  His Alzheimer’s diagnosis and ensuing retirement just came too quickly for her to exit the company at the same time. 

So, as usual, Mom went to work today.  But she received a shocking phone call at her desk in the early afternoon.  It was our family doctor.  Surprised to hear his voice, she said, “What are YOU doing calling ME?”  He said that my dad had called the doctor’s office in a bad state asking for him specifically.  When he took the phone call, my dad was crying hard and said he needed help.  Dr. Wayne informed my mom that he had called in a prescription for the antidepressant Lexipro and that she needed to go home immediately. 

Mom raced home.  And then it all came out.  Dad is doing horribly.  He tries to appear upbeat but he is struggling.  Struggling with having no remaining purpose in life, no desire to do anything, feeling every morning and every day like there is no point to living.  He is lost, lethargic, upset, confused, and feels all alone and helpless. He is dying – and he knows it.

I am just angry and shocked to find out that he’s doing this bad!  Quite frankly, I assumed Dad had gone on antidepressants directly after my suggestion at our family meeting a full month ago.  My bad, I guess I should’ve followed up on that with my mom.  Let’s face it, everyone’s struggling and sometimes details get passed by.  Two minds are definitely better than one on this.

My poor, poor, Daddy-O…

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I woke up today at 6:30am (which is SO unlike me), went directly into my home office, and started writing an open to a movie about my dad.  I was feeling anxious and inspired.  I witnessed myself typing but was in disbelief about it.  The words were just flowing through my fingers with little conscious thought.  A movie was forming before my very eyes before the sun was even up!

My best friend, Jacquelyn, had planted this seed in my mind recently.  Once again, I found myself on her couch, crumpled and crying, barely able to sit up to talk to her, and she tried to help me out of my dark hole.  She suggested that I stop focusing on the impending bad parts of my dad’s life.  She suggested that I – and my entire family, for that matter – stop wallowing in a state of depressed helplessness and DO something to help ourselves!  I remember just staring at her, blinking, not comprehending at all what she was saying.  She went on to say that, with my talent and abilities, I should be able to turn this into a celebration about my dad – his life, the great man he is, all the accomplishments he has had, the wonderful family he has made…

I remember finally responding meekly with, “I don’t even know what that means.”

She told me to grab a camera, interview him and my mom, get our legacy on tape, relive our family milestones, talk about some happy times, celebrate the good life we’ve all had together!

That got through to me.  I remember sitting up, repeating what she had said to be sure I had heard her right, considering it and agreeing through tears to mull it over.

Then, I found myself sitting straight up in bed this morning at 6:30am, panicked and inspired to start doing something about it RIGHT NOW!  So, there I was, practically having an out-of-body experience watching myself type the opening narration to a movie.  Without thought, it even had a working title: “Honest & Frank”.  Initial Movie Script – Opening Scene

Then, in a split instant, I apparently decided I was done writing, that I had enough initial inspiration down on paper.  I instantly shifted into a panicked pull to get myself to the hospital right away to see my Uncle Jack!  Just a few days since I had seen him last, I was strongly feeling now like I had a very short window of opportunity to spend with him and that life was passing me by!  I raced to get dressed and just as I was nearing completion, the phone rang.  Uncle Jack had just passed away.

Complete meltdown.  OMG, now what was I going to do??  How eerie that I felt PULLED to the hospital right in the moment he was probably taking his last breaths!  Helplessness.  Panic!  Sobbing…

Then, a rational thought suddenly entered my brain and I decided in that instant that I had to immediately visit my parents and roll some video!  I ran to my car but was caught by surprise by the beautiful morning sun and the poignancy of the quiet early autumnal morning Mother Nature had planned.  I ran back inside to grab my still camera and spent a few minutes snapping pictures of my front garden glowing in the mystic autumn sun.  Then, what’s that?  A piece of white Styrofoam or something had blown into the garden…

What is that on the left?

What is that on the left?

I stepped into the garden to move a bush away to inspect the foreign object, and then I saw what it really was!  A cement statue of a Schnauzer, just like our deceased beloved family pet, Scruffy!  Well, how did THAT get there?! 

A cement statue of Scruffy!

A cement statue of Scruffy!

Sobbing, full of emotions, I dropped and broke my camera.  Then I proceeded to dial up some family and friends, asking them through sobs if they had left the gift.  When I asked my mom if it had been her, she said no.  I then told her I was coming over right now with a video camera.

When I arrived, I reiterated through tears the story about finding the Scruffy statue in my garden.  Crying, I said I didn’t know who would’ve done that!  My dad playfully said, “Well, you haven’t asked me.”  I said, “Well, I asked mom and she said it wasn’t you guys.”  To which my mom said, “No, you asked if it was ME and I said no.”  I looked at my dad in disbelief, said, “It was YOU?” and sobbed uncontrollably when he laughed and said yes!  I fell into his arms and told him how much I loved him and how sweet he is to me.

Once composed, I unpacked my camera, set up lights and mic’d my parents.  I sat them down on the couch and rolled camera.  I recorded my first interview for my movie.  Finally, I was DOING SOMETHING…