Every time I see my Dad, a little part of me yearns, momentarily, nostalgically, painfully, for the man he once was.
His bent body, skeletal frame, rheumy eyes and gamely shuffling gait, are so far removed from the rampunctious, larger-than-life, tempestuous yet loving man of my childhood .
But this is how I remember him: a distinguished academic, fiercely intelligent yet competitive, with a quick temper, but equally quick to calm down; a fat man - his rounded tummy giving ample evidence of his intense enjoyment of cooking, fine food and drink; a funny man - with a sharp sense of humour and a tendency to make terrible puns; a wise and caring father, always ready with considered advice and respectful of my childish opinions.
His second wife, now back with him as a carer, ensures that his quality of life is as good as it can be. He gets out a lot, meets friends, travels, visits his children. But he can barely write now, he can read -but not long books - he can cook occasionally but is now more or less off the alcohol and can only eat soft food. He still cracks the odd joke and gives advice on my thesis, but his voice is so weak that he is sometimes hard to hear.
Parkinsons has taken so much of my old Dad away from me and although his mind is still the same, what upsets me most is that my children will never know who he used to be. I miss him.