‘My father was the smartest man I ever knew. He was an accountant for a big company in Mexico. He and I didn’t have much of a relationship. He left us when I was four and had another wife and daughter in Mexico. He came to visit me in Colorado when I was eighteen and I got to know him. He was everything that I am. I always wondered why I was the one that read books, did really well in school, and graduated early. None of my siblings shared my passion for books or for photography. When I met my dad, I saw all of me in him and things that I love about my life made sense. I got everything I am from him. He was so smart…he was good with numbers, he could draw and he read all the time. Any question I had, he would answer it and if he didn’t know, he would say, ‘let’s find out.’
For the short while that he was in Colorado, we really bonded before I moved back to Utah and he moved back to Mexico. He lived with his other wife and daughter for a little while and then, suddenly, he left them and moved to his hometown, Veracruz. He went away and on his own for a really long time. He stopped talking to people and became completely emotionally unavailable. He was alone for three, almost four years and shut himself off from everyone and didn’t talk to anyone except maybe his grocer. That’s where I think the Alzheimer’s got him. I’m sure there’s a better, more scientific explanation for it, but that’s what I believe.
He doesn’t remember me anymore and he doesn’t remember his other daughter. It’s now too late to try to keep building on our relationship and that’s heartbreaking. I’m the youngest one in the family and I’m also the strongest. He came and lived with me for three or four months. I chose to bring him here and I chose to take care of him. But I never allowed myself to let any of my family see me cry about how hard it was. There are things he does remember very well, like his walks…but the books he loved and songs we sang, he can’t even read or sing them anymore. I can’t figure out how it progressed so quickly. He was the most capable man I ever knew and now, he’s gone but his body is left behind. I’m watching a baby grow up, struggling to walk, talk, eat, and drink. But now there’s no more growing up for him. He’s slowly fading away into everything that he never was.’