Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The 37th Day

I am propped up in Dad's bed, eyes scanning the gravel drive for Dad's doves.

He always watched them pick at the bits of rock for their craw,
flying up to rest on a limb before alighting for another round.

The tree branches are bare, grasses brown and covered with the last of the fall leaves.
Sun is shining today, scattering faux diamonds amidst the icy blades of little prisms
reflecting hope back to the window.

This view was Dad's world for the last 5 years.  A Mirror of his changing mind,
dually kind and cruel.
A hunter by necessity as well as sport in his younger years, his thinking evolved as his disease progressed.
One day I remarked,
Look at all those dove--
 I should get one and cook it for dinner.
No!  I like to watch them, we can't eat them!
I guess we'll have chicken then.
I have slept in here for 8 nights now, my gaze settling on every angle from one position moving only my head or eyes.
While I cannot comprehend his perception, I experience every thing--the sounds, the cold or warmth, the leaves blowing across the yard.
Trucks one after the other whizzing east to Jacksboro and beyond
heading west into Graham from nearby farms and ranches.

I will take Mother to the doctor this afternoon and listen as she tries to explain she 'is not any better' and she 'cannot stand this much longer.'
It is easy to feel her hopelessness and helplessness in the face of change--to her.

I wonder what causes some people
to seek the magic bullet for every life challenge
While others just shift into low or high gear and start the climb up or the descent down.
Dad was always the stoic one--just doing what had to be done because it had to be done.
No point in whining or complaining--neither got the job finished.
In the end, he sought the simple pleasures of watching the dove strut and feed,
commenting on how pretty the flowers or Mother looked.

Until the last few weeks, he laughed more, regaled us with his stories of growing up,
his years in India and China during World War II--something he had never talked about,
of being a young father, struggling to make ends meet, wanting a better and kinder life for his children.
It was as if all the joy and fun he never permitted himself came bubbling up when the time came he could no longer work.
Sis and I reveled in it, understanding how it mattered to him and to us, folding and tucking those moments into our heart pockets.

Once again we face uncharted territory as we (and Mother) enter this new stage of the unknown.

I have spent a lot of time of late pondering how we have disenfranchised our brain from reality until it is like an engine backfire.
Wires crossed, frayed, shorting out from overload
No longer able to repair and reconnect overnight because there's no dark anymore to permit regrouping and healing.
No reset button due to chemicals and drugs to regulate everything.
A gentle loss of coping capacity or willfulness that eased into our lives and now entrenched,
controls us to the point that half of us cannot think how to solve a problem
and would rather blurt out an accusation of blame or mindless 'explanation' for all that's gone wrong than spend time in Mindfulness, seeking understanding of how to become a more effective human being.

Uncharted territory.  We each have to map it as we walk it.

© scwallen
Graham, TX