carry on tuesday gives lines, lyrics--and we are to create poetry or prose in the direction we choose using those lines.
for my father
“There are sleeping dreams and waking dreams.What seems is not always as it seems.”
as he moved into the disease, as it filled his head with mish mash and lost connections and words he struggled to remember, feeling their texture with his tongue and teeth, yet knowing at times they were the wrong word.... as he lie in bed in the morning, curtains drawn, he’d wonder if the big hand on twelve and the little hand on seven was morning or night...
as he allowed his face to privately show the concentration he put into dressing...working to maintain that crisp presence he’d always been so proud of, noting only the dry cleaning sharpness of the crease in his trousers or the smooth feel of his shirt, ironed by another's hands --not seeing the food stains from the last time he’d worn it. brushing his still heavy head of hair, the curls lying flat under the water in the brush for a few moments. shaving by feel. brushing his teeth, checking them in a mirror with eyes that couldn't see them any longer. habits were hard to break.
he felt along the counter for the cane he needed to walk, enjoying the beauty of the carved handle even as he hated the need to use it to get around these days.
the routine was all... key off the hook and into his right pocket, wallet which contained one twenty dollar bill, his license which had been revoked, a photo of his granddaughter in the left back pocket... the routine allowed him to not have to call for help finding something. he would say it under his breath... “key. wallet.lock door”. when he returned from the group dining hall, he’d say, “hang key. wallet down. cane on counter.” it gave him some sense of control over a life that was lived in foggy vision, dimmed hearing, muddled mind. he'd call the daughter, complaining about the crap food and the fucking morons he had to share a table with.
on occasion, she was called in by the director of the facility, as he'd once been called in to discuss her behaviour with her principal... walking him back to the room, talking in a crisp voice so he could hear her... reminding him it was not a good idea to start a geriatric rumble with the man who sat across from him... and, yes, he was spitting even if he called it "...an accidental wet cough".
he had dreams that slipped from the night into the day, when time escaped him. he would look down and discover he was sitting in his chair, in his underwear, and be ashamed his children might stop by and find him that way.
his life was no longer his own- it belonged to others, with people giving him pills, doctors visits, phone calls he hated to make to ask for help, when he had always been the strong one, the pillar everyone leaned upon.
in the end, his day flowed into death between heart beats... and in those dreams, he could see and hear and walk once again... there, in that place he woke in, he found all of the words he’d forgotten, discovering they’d not forgotten him. in those dreams, he didn’t hear the keening of his daughter, the sobs of his grandchildren, the voices of their friends trying to help things move smoothly.
in those dreams, he found peace....and was once again home.