El Paso, TX

Alzheimer's will take my dad from me twice.

Euri Giles | Clareifi

I miss you dad.

The long goodbye has already taken you from me. Now in the final stages of your battle with Alzheimer's I'm dreading the day I loose you forever.

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  • My dad

I already miss him.

I’ve only seen my dad twice since the beginning of the pandemic. Once when he fell and hit his head, I had to rush over and help my mom until the paramedics arrived.

The second time I took some groceries over to them, and he was sitting on the couch. He looked at me with a smile, and I felt terrible that he might be expecting a hug. I waived to him and smiled (through my mask). He gave me a thumbs up.

Alzheimer’s sucks!

I feel like I don’t do enough.

I’ve recently become an Alzheimer’s Ambassador. I’m working to encourage Congresswoman Veronica Escobar to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s public policy goals. I am looking forward to getting started with this new position. If you have any questions or want to get involved, please reach out or visit alzimpact.org. #ENDALZ

It’s my way of compensating.

I feel like it’s the least I can do. Dad was always involved in something. He was always busy, making a difference.

I want for him to be proud of me. More than that, I wish for him to be able to tell me.

That time has passed.

I keep my distance to keep them safe.

I ask myself if it’s the right thing to do? Should I be visiting or checking in on them in person? I talk to my mom three times per day at a minimum. Once at 6:30 am every morning to make sure that she is up and feeling ok. Once again, at midday to make sure that my dad is up and they are both ok. I call or FaceTime her at 5:30 pm to make sure that they have eaten dinner and are ready to turn in for the night.

I find myself surprised that they have been doing so well without me coming around as often.

My dad will take the phone, but he rarely understands what’s going on.

I tell him that I love him.

He can’t hear me over the phone, but he can see my face. He recognizes me as someone he knows.

His smile is all I need.

When will this all end?

I’m pretty sure that I’m feeling survivor’s guilt. I haven’t lost my job. I’ve been able to work from home since mid-March. Every time that I go to the grocery store to stock up, I pass the line of cars waiting at the local food bank.

After donating individually, I started a fundraiser to solicit additional donations for my local food bank. 

Why do I feel guilty for being ok?

I’m not ready to go back to work for real. I feel like a fraud every day. I’m getting by. There is a part of me that is expecting the worst. I’ve been in this situation before, being fired wouldn’t be so bad. I can’t quit, though. I won’t allow myself to give up.

I miss him.

What would dad do?

He was his own man. He did things his way!

My dad was a free spirit, a “jack of all trades.” Just like him, I know a little about everything. You would probably consider him a job hopper. He did so many different things in his lifetime.

He was in the Air Force. That’s how he got from Chicago to El Paso. Once he left the military, he joined the El Paso Police Department.

He earned his bachelor’s degree and became the first black reporter at The El Paso Times newspaper.

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Around the time I was born, he was the director of Project Bravo, a “non-profit 501(c)3 organization that exists to maximize resources for an improved quality of life for the economically disadvantaged residents of El Paso County.”

By the time I was old enough to remember, he was in podiatry school. Before earning his M.D., he dropped out and started his own industrial sales business.

He never stopped writing, reading, researching.

Dad was a real writer. He was a poet, a newspaper reporter. He freelanced and would write technical articles for publications. His work was published in books and magazines. I always thought that was cool. I was proud of the work he did, he was so independent, but it didn’t make me want to be a writer.

I miss him.

I miss you, dad.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.

I need you!

I realize now that I’m so much more like you than I ever thought.

I wish that I could talk to you about how I’m feeling.

Alzheimer’s sucks!

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Euri Giles covers lifestyle content and news in Texas ranging from parenting, and food to politics.

El Paso, TX
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