Friday, March 15, 2019

SOL 19 Slice #15 Packing for the trip

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOL19)
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day for the month of March 2019.

A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

Packing for the trip.

I am up and down the stairs, to and from the laundry room, finding the clothes I need. Packing my suitcase. How cold will it be in Saco? Have I packed enough warm things? It's time to go see Dad again, up in Maine, in the nursing home. My new monthly tradition since Mom died.

Heavy heart. Full heart. Happy heart. Muddled heart. Dad.

Packing for the trip.

Check these off the list: toiletries, nightgown, underwear, socks, jeans, two nights only. Journal. Book. Writing pens. What am I missing in this suitcase?

We imagined, we hoped for such a different now for him. We dreamed Dad might rally, might find life satisfying, that he might gain energy somehow, from not being consumed by the care of Mom and her all-consuming dementia. Of course, grief isn't 'clean' or 'clear' like that. Grief is a liquid that permeates and bleeds and moves in unexpected ways, affecting so many things. He's lost his purpose, he's lost his will. His legs are giving out, his brain is no longer firing as sharply as it once did. He's addled and mixed up and confused much of the time. 

Packing for the trip.

Maybe the bright red shirt? Maybe this will catch his eye, help him to be a little more alert, maybe make him smile? He seemed to like the vibrant colors last month. Clothes, as cheerleader. Clothes, as possibility and hope. 

I remember last month, slumped in confines of the easy chair, he asked, "Why am I here?" Me, cheerleader, I moved closer to him and tapped him gently on the legs, "It's these legs, Dad. They need to get stronger, to be rehabilitated. They're just not working.

"Yes," Dad agreed, "They've been very shaky."

I am cheerleader. I am there to soothe, to comfort, to quiet, to brighten, to smile.

Packing for the trip.

Who am I kidding? Parkinson's is a continual taking away, an inevitable decline. This is not like a young child, who begins to learn more due to focused attention on his needs. This is its painful opposite...a withering, a leaving, a letting go.

Do I need to pack shoes for a good long walk? Will we have time for a walk, Tony and I? Walking is the very best way to find a little peace in the midst of the lowness, if/when we find Dad sad and grouchy. 

Yes, I'm going to pack my walking shoes. 

I'll make a walk happen. Self-care. I must think of me, too.

Packing for the trip.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this is beautiful. The repetition, the emotion, the internal thinking shared. You are living through some hard stuff- thank you for sharing it here.