Life is circular, but we need a compass – so we know where we are facing. We don’t always know what we are facing, but still we need to find our way. World awash in problems, talking-heads bring us missing airliners, wars, near-wars, struggle-mode economies amid global warming and corporate skullduggery.
In our insular personal world we deal with things we didn’t get done yesterday, plan for today and receive surprises when they arrive.
Big world or small, we are all the same – whirling through space believing we are all so special, different, unique. We are the same, in search of same, in need of same, conceived the same, breathe the same, live the same, die the same – in the end, all done, just the same.
I had it cleaned.
Wore it this morning – only item of my dad’s that fits me – his prized TheNorthFace down jacket.
He bought a new one every couple of years.
Always size Large. A small would have fit him fine, but he liked the roominess, warmth – and he liked it as he liked his coffee, black. He wore it every time he went out from September to April no matter how nice a day it was. Staying warm, at home or going out, was a big issue for him as I believe it is for most of us when we become frail and old.
Each time I go to my dad’s condo I bring back two boxes of things and papers – which is fine. I pack more, toss out more and deal with more – but limit my transport to two.
Some days I’ve made two trips or, like today, have two from yesterday I’ve not touched yet and there will be two more after I make a trip this morning.
Going through four boxes of him in one day is too much to deal with, so I don’t go there every day. But I try, in part to even it out, in part to have that daily sense of still being with him even though I know one day the place will be emptied, but I won’t be.
Every day gets easier, I think.
I wonder what AH would think of all this?
He lost his wife last week.
I lost my dad the week before.
Am I in any better place than he?
A week head-start on things done, more than he? I can’t bring myself to say lucky me or unlucky Al. Maybe he’s the luckier one.
Oxygen man came yesterday – took away my dad’s equipment, tanks and all the attendant gear. Gone are air hoses and masks, nose-pieces and tubing. I was there for 2 hours waiting, so I got through more drawers, more boxes, more trash, more treasures found in sock drawers and obscure corners of his condo.
I put those pictures, from his sock drawer, in my sock drawer. Then it hit me. I have 3 sock drawers – dress, casual and golf – so which one would I use for hiding treasure? Not to confuse my children – but to remind them – that one day they may find great clues to knowing me hidden beneath socks and such. I keep my passport in my underwear drawer. Like father, like son – I suppose I am, more ways than I realized.
It occurred to me yesterday, bagging up and discarding things, boxing some treasures for keeping, taking un-used meds to pharmacy for disposal – I’m still chipping away at the above water portions of this iceberg in terms of dealing with stuff – that in each bag and box I am discarding and disposing of parts of him. Parts that cannot be retrieved but in doing so, what remains diminishes in size and I realize how little of our lives are our things. Actions and memories endure. Everything else will ultimately be reduced to ashes, to dust and only the finest of treasures and secrets will lurk in dusty bottoms of sock drawers.
There are doors and drawers we must all open.
Some we close. Some we open again and again, close again and again – as if we will see something different. Often we don’t, but we keep doing that because we believe, one day, we’ll see something different.
Meanwhile, I’ll go wandering around in my new jacket.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: 0C / 32F, clearing, remnants of yesterday’s snow-dump are poised to melt today, traffic light and untroubled. What a difference a day makes. Gusta thrilled to have her footing back but not pleased that everything smelly is frozen to ground or stuck in ice. Squirrels are busy …someone must have told them spring is around the corner …
Interesting process; your musing – then writing (always); our reading – then responding (sometimes). Regardless, it is a journey together. Not only you have changed, but we, as well. Every day is a new adventure (on both sides of the keyboard!). Who’d a thunk? I never would have guessed there would be so many words – for so long – and so interesting! Keep up the good work, KK, Calgary AB
I write everyday too but it is only in my head and never makes it to the paper. What I was thinking a year ago is gone unlike your thoughts that are archived forever. For that simple reason, I am envious of you. We believe that the events of the day are mundane and ordinary but they aren't when are able to look back at them. I use photography in this way. I am passionate about taking pictures to record events in my life. My family will attest to the fact that my camera is attached to my hip. Sometimes the photographs offer a glimpse into where I was in my life and how I was feeling. However, you have inspired me to start writing and today is the day. It will add a rich layer to the photographs that I take. Thanks Mark and an early congratulations on your 12th year anniversary. You are loyal to the task, that's for sure, CG, Cobourg, ON
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