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What Do You See?

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It was a very eerie moment. The man at our table had been quiet for most of his meal. Suddenly he held up his fork and dangled his half-eaten steak. “What do you see?” he asked us.
My father’s question came several years into his Alzheimer’s journey. Confusion was his constant companion on our vacation. It would show up unannounced, possessing him, willing him to say and do things completely out of character for a retired United Methodist minister of 40 years, and devoted husband of half a century. So, for him to hold out his food and ask, “What do you see?” was, well, unexpectedly expected.
Mom mercifully broke the awkward silence. She tried reassuring him that he was holding the steak he had ordered. She had assumed (not without reason) her husband was having trouble remembering what he had done only a few minutes ago. I tried next to reassure him it was cooked correctly. My assumption (also not without reason) was my father might be living in an alternate reality where he was eati…