He Isn't HImself Today

If you have a sick dad. A sick mom. A sick sibling. A sick husband or wife. Then this phrase is in your lexicon.

He isn’t really himself right now. She’s just not herself today.

I know I said these exact words, about my dad, dozens of times. Maybe even hundreds. Sometimes, I’d sit around with my siblings, my mom — old family friends — trying to understand. Trying to make sense of the disease. And we’d keep coming back to this phrase. To this idea. Whatever this disease is — it’s not him.

At the time, it felt like grace. It felt like we were letting my dad off the hook. Letting him get away with something by distinguishing between him and the disease.

But then I read Kafka’s Metamorphosis