wings and things

Chapter 38: Father and son

on September 30, 2021

During Ming’s childhood years it was mostly Anthony who took him to primary school in the mornings and then picked him up in the afternoons as by then he had retired from milking cows and I was working at the local university. In fact, even before Ming’s schooling, Anthony was the one who potty-trained him, got him walking from tummy-shuffling, taught him how to ride a bicycle, wash a car, and their antics never failed to amuse me.

On Father’s Days we would take the portable gramophone outside and play scratched records from even before Anthony’s time. And they would dance! I think this only happened two years in a row but the image of them dancing together on the lawn, and Ming’s giggles, is embedded in my memory; I also have a photograph.

I sometimes wonder if Ming remembers his early childhood with Anthony without the various photos. Does he remember now how much he was loved then, by Anthony? From his birth to age 5, does he remember how much fun he had with Anthony?

In thinking about this, I have decided to interview Ming for the book because I can’t possibly know how he felt, or what he thought, during those heavy years following Anthony’s Parkinsonism diagnosis. I was too busy grieving the loss of my robust husband to this ghastly disease that I may not have noticed how Ming felt and I regret my inattention to this.

One thing I know for sure though is that this father adored his son from the get-go and, as the Parkinson’s dementia progressed, Anthony would often hallucinate toddler Ming in the corner of his nursing home room. Perhaps these were his favorite memories?

When Ming and I did the TED talk about dementia just weeks before Anthony died, we made a funny story out of the day Anthony didn’t recognize Ming and thought he was the hairdresser. We laughed and the audience laughed. It is only now, as I look back, that I remember Ming saying this to Anthony that day:

“I’m your son, Dad. I’m Ming!”

6 responses to “Chapter 38: Father and son

  1. Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to this interview.

  2. Who I am says:

    Such a sad time when they forget who we are

  3. How wonderful that they had such a bond when Ming was so little

  4. beth says:

    so bittersweet

  5. tootlepedal says:

    Ming should certainly have his say.

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