A local Miami man broke the mould this father’s day, handing the (basbeball) gloves back to his dad so he could teach him how to catch. The Plantain caught up with Ángel Saxon (the chiselled, snow white man writing this article who has a supreme dislike for the first person) to learn more about his very special mission.
"You just don’t realise what the little things mean until they’re gone"
“As a true, Hollywood-style American, my fondest and warmest memories of my dad from childhood involve learning to catch a baseball on our perfectly mowed, middle class front lawn” recalled Ángel wistfully in a strong British accent. “It was the foundation of our relationship. I thought it was something we would always have in common. But then the Alzheimer’s came.”
“One day I threw a ball at him and I guess he no longer knew how to catch it. It hit him straight in the side of the head. Shortly after, he forgot who I was. You just don’t realise what the little things mean until they’re gone. That’s why I’m teaching him how to catch again. Even if he doesn’t appreciate that I’m his son, I know playing catch together will always be special for both of us anyway.”
I asked myself if he had any regrets.
“The denial,” Ángel whispered regretfully. “I always pretended my dad would be around forever, to catch balls – or me, whenever I fell. I never wanted to think about the possibility of him dying, not while he was still not dead. Why even acknowledge that could happen, right? Thing is, you forget that people can disappear from your world, even before they disappear from theirs.”
Just before I left, I asked Ángel if he felt like the experiment had any impact.
“He did have a rare moment of clarity for a few seconds today,” Ángel said. “I was rearranging the flowers on his desk when he made a strangled kind of noise. I turned around quickly, and found him staring at me. His eyes shone, and he looked at me with a look I’ve been craving to see for years now. It took every ounce of my strength to not burst into tears just then, to savour the moment instead. I said ‘I love you. Happy father’s day.’ He smiled at me, and said ‘I love you too. Sorry I forgot to buy you a card.’”
Ángel Saxon is a staff writer for The Plantain.