Monday, June 21, 2021

A Different Sort Of Father's Day

 This past Father's Day was the first time in living memory that I have not spoken to TB The Elder.

To be somewhat fair, I suppose that I could have called:  the home where he is has a phone, and I can certainly call at any time.  But he is hard to understand now at the best of times; I fear calling him without having the reference of a face and body in place would create more confusion than any benefit the conversation would bring (also to be fair, we will see him in two weeks, so that will probably be better anyway).

It is a odd thing, this almost limbo that we find ourselves in with the condition of our parents: they are still with us so we do not mourn them in the way that we would mourn the dead, yet I cannot speak to them in the way that one typically speaks to living.  It is a twilight, where we seem and speak to each other darkly, through a sort of evening fall that has the highlights of stars and a crescent moon, but not of specific details of the landscape.

It has been a continuation of the last seven months, more or least:  the phone calls that became less and less of conversations and more and more of my updates, then the loss of calling my parents every week (Tuesday nights for the last 6 years at least), and now finally the point where there are no calls at all.  A logical extension, but logic often has a cold, hard edge to it that the reality of human experience cannot bear.

I am fortunate:  I have a father to whom Happy Father's Day could be a sincere wish, not something that just a phrase mouthed.  I have written of him and his examples over the years here; to effectively the very end of his independent life he did his best to hold up his responsibilities to everyone, especially my mother in the throes of Alzheimer's disease.  To the extent that I have demonstrated any good fatherhood skills or examples, I owe them to him.

I would like to believe, I suppose, that somehow my father still knows this somewhere in the back of his mind, even if he cannot communicate it effectively or respond in a way that would make sense.  And perhaps he still does:  when we see him, he still recognizes us and responds with some level of joy, even if the actual items he is trying to relate never make sense the way he intends.

Were I a wiser man, I might have somehow figured out a way to plan for this sort of thing more appropriately.  Sadly, I fall into the trap that is the birthright of all humanity:  we never truly think the future will come, until it does.


10 comments:

  1. You can’t plan for something like that, TB. All you can do is cope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose not Glen, not matter how hard I would like to make myself believe otherwise.

      Delete
  2. Can't really add to Glen's comment. We all have to cope at some point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do, Ed. In a way, I suppose, the growing up process never really ends.

      Delete
  3. I think you are correct about him remembering you, at least on some level.

    When my father was still at home, my sister and I, along with our menfolk, met there to do some much needed yard work. He heard us pull in and came out of the house looking confused and angry. He stopped, blinked his eyes for a moment, and then smiled. The one and only intelligent thing he said for the whole day came after that smile: "You're my family."

    That was also the day he decided he knew my husband from when they flew together during WW2, and tried to fix a hose with "loose goosey" aka WD40.

    We all cherish that smile and laugh about the rest -- it's that or cry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing that story sbrgirl. It made me smile. And yes, my sister and I are doing a lot of laughing now - as you say, what else can you do?

      Delete
  4. As Glen said, You can't plan for something like that.
    You have done exceedingly well coping with it now. Praise God for that.
    *hugs* and God bless, TB.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda. Hopefully at some level my parents know this.

      Delete
  5. It's hard when parents deteriorate. I guess it's difficult to prepare for something we don't want to see happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leigh, I think that is part of it. My mother - yes, we knew that was coming for years. But my father - I suppose both my sister and I hoped that relieving him from the stress of caring my mother would improve things. When it did not, we looked back and thought if we had missed things that we should have seen. I still do not know that we did.

      Delete

Your comment will be posted after review. Thanks for posting!