"Doctors call what he does 'Alzheimer's disease'. I call it time traveling," says Liliana Bellini who lost her mom in 2013.
Liliana Bellini’s mother passed away in 2013 and at the time, she was worried about how her relationship with her father would turn out to be. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a rather cruel condition that robs one of their memories. Liliana, however, chooses not to use the term “Alzheimer’s” to describe her father’s condition; rather, she says he can “time travel.” Liliana shared with the Alzheimer’s Society’s Facebook page on July 5, the story of her father. My Papa is 89 and he time travels. He started when my Mamma died seven years ago; he didn’t like being at home without her, he missed her too much, she wrote.
He goes back to different places and different times and he seems to like it better there because he rarely comes back to the present day. Doctors call what he does 'Alzheimer's disease'. I call it time traveling. She shared that he lives in Italy with her sister and that she visits him as often as she can. I call him often instead, more than I have ever done. I go along and join him on his travels, wherever he is. Sometimes he is back at primary school and he is worried about not having done his homework, or that his pencil case can’t be found. Sometimes he is on the train going to work and he asks me to please wake him up if he falls asleep, as he doesn’t want to miss his stop.
Lilliana reveals how she gets to know some of his secrets, ones she never knew before. He doesn’t always know who I am. Yesterday he called me 'Zia (Auntie) Angelina'; last week I was the lady who cleans the church; today it’s me, his youngest daughter, 'La mia piccolina...my little one'. Lilliana has the lockdown to thank for getting her father back. I meet him every time exactly where he is, not where I think he should be, or where he used to be. And I’m really with him wherever he is; I can be anyone his time traveler’s mind wants me to be. We travel to a place where our time together is precious, as well as non-existent. Where Alzheimer's is nothing but a word. Where 'corona' is what the Queen wears on her head.
Where the words 'Ti amo Papa' travel through symptoms, time and matter, and reach him deeply. When he hears them I can see he lets them in and slowly lets them settle, then he finds my eyes and he really sees me, and says, 'I know…I love you, too.' Tears in his eyes, tears in my eyes. I thought I had lost my Papa when my Mom passed, but it turns out we are closer than we ever were. She chose to share her story of finding a long-lost connection with her father with thousands of people who are going through the same journey that she is. Honestly, time-traveling is a rather new way to look at the condition, but it does make more sense, doesn't it?