12/18/2007

Having a Lovely Time, Dad- Wish You Were Here!



It's almost time for Christmas vacation. I won't be back at the nursing home for 3 weeks. "What will we do if there's a...well, um..." The social worker's voice trails off and she give me an apologetic smile.

"Emergency?" I say, supplying the word she doesn't want to use.

"Well, yes," she says, sighing. "Three weeks is a long time."

I smile at her. "If something goes wrong around here, call me at home and tell me to get up off the couch and get down here."

I tell her this because this one home tries very hard to do their best for their residents and because of this, I don't mind if they call me. They won't be trying to cover their liable tails after some neglectful incident- they'll be trying to avert a crisis.

I tell her how hard I know they are working- how I see it every time I visit and it makes me feel good. And then I confess I can't go back to the home we both left because it is too hard. "I feel so guilty about it," I say.

Jan shakes her head. "You can't, you can't, you can't" she murmurs over and over, until I realize she is also telling herself.

I stand up, ready to leave but I don't go because I know there's one more thing I need to tell her. "I know this Christmas will be hard," I begin. "At best, strange, without your dad."

She nods. Her dad has been gone for 7 months and mine a year and almost 3 months. I know how much she loved her dad.

"We took flowers to the gravesite yesterday," she begins but breaks off and shakes her head.

"But he's not there, is he?" I whisper.

Tears fill her eyes. "I know he's in a better place," she tries. "But I feel mad, too. So much has happened and keeps right on happening. I want to say, 'Why'd you leave me to deal with this?' But I know it's not his fault."

She begins to cry. "It's the weirdest things. Like he had an old Plymouth Volare. Thirty years old with 54,000 original miles on it. He did all the work on that thing. Then when he got sick, he couldn't work on it anymore but he wouldn't sell it." She pauses a moment, gathering the strength to talk. "We sold it last month. We had to. You can't hang on to everything and Mama needed the money. Anyway, the man came by the other day and that Volare looked so good. He said he'd put 24-hundred dollars into it and it looked perfect. But things like that...they just tear me up."

I know. I tell her about cooking with the Eldest Unnamed One, just like I used to do with Dad. "Even though it's neat to see the generations continue and see my Dad in my boy, it still hurts because I miss my dad and it's not the same."

I am dangerously close to losing it myself but I "hold the tail," so I can stick with her. But later when I walk to the car, it is all I can think about, all I can feel.

I miss my dad but I live on, trying to follow the things he taught me. Doing it, in part for him because that is what he would want, I think. He would want me to pass the essence of who we are and what we are about on down from one generation to the next. He would want me to let the love he gave me flow on to my sons and their children and the host of others who will follow us.

But it just isn't the same as having him here.

Don't get me wrong- I'm having an exceptionally good time with my boys and my friends, but I'm just aware of how much he would enjoy all of this and how much I would like one of his hugs.



5 comments:

random blogger said...

Something in what you wrote has reminded me that I have been reading you for at least the past eighteen months.

I suppose I am captivated, and so I must say to you, Merry Christmas, and by all means continue on in what you do as you do it quite well.

Nancy said...

Back at you, Random. Any more picture/stories to share with us? I'm so glad to know you're out there. Merry Christmas! Nancy

Random Blogger said...

I am less sure about the stories, but I will always have more pictures.

Nancy said...

I LOVE your photographs, especially the one from Dec. 18- http://reasonwithin.blogspot.com/2007/12/ok-so-here-i-am-with-you-people-again.html.

Random Blogger said...

Bad picutre of me, beautiful picture of Sydney. She was just too cute in my cap, I had to grab the camera.