Stories.

One of the hardest things anyone can experience is watching the person who raised you, who has loved you before you had a name, slowly transform into a withered and helpless version of their former selves. After years of decline, it gets harder to hold on to the memory of who they used to be; the man who was always found working on the yard, tending to his home in defiance as the rest of the neighborhood succumbed to neglect. He now lays in a room off to the left down a long corridor, distinguishable only by the peeling black 104 nailed on the frame, spending his days pushing call buttons and being turned every two hours and being spoken to by loud, not-listening voices. None of these nurses or doctors know him in flannel shirts, drinking with the garage door open so he could wave and whistle. None of them know how he would bring me lunch during school because making friends was never easy. He will end his life as patient 104, the one who asks for a lot but always says thank you. There are only a handful of people left who hold those memories of when he was upright and independent, when he could show the world that he is a good man.

My grandfather and my father.

My grandfather and my father.

 

Now, all that remains are stories.