Yesterday, I held my father's face in both my hands and looked into his eyes. His pupils were like tiny black pinheads, not really focusing on anything. Do you recognise me? I asked. He nodded and said my name loud and clear before closing his eyes and falling asleep again. He sleeps almost all the time now.
I never held his face like that ever before, like you would hold a child's face.
It was his 94th birthday.
On the way back, the train carriage was crowded with soccer fans on their way to some important match and I watched them rehearsing their chants, putting their team's jerseys over their hoodies, having a beer or three. I imagined how my father would have been amused. But then, he would never have gone by train anywhere he could drive. But soccer, anytime.
The Franconian countryside was covered in snow.
What a beautiful scene. I miss snow but we live too close to the Gulf of Mexico for a white landscape. I loved reading the bit about your dad. I still miss mine. Be well.ReplyDelete
Your description of that moment, holding his face in your hands, his eyes closing is so deeply touching. A moment never to be forgotten.ReplyDelete
Like your Dad I have lived much longer than I expected. Or perhaps he always intended to live into his nineties, good luck to him. In my teens people were retiring at sixty and not making it to 65. Good news for the government which was in pocket from these early deaths. It comes as something of a surprise to learn one should prepare for old age, notably by dropping most active pursuits. Those who have never willingly picked up a book in their active years find this deprivation hard to bear, and frequently become tragic figures. I tell myself I still write even though I know full well that my powers of imagination are leaking away. Without that ,writing becomes a simple matter of recording facts. Inevitably there's irony round the corner; one uses up these unexpected days and weeks reflecting on death, a "sheer waste of time" of time as my Grannie would have put it.And she, having lived to 96 knew wherof she spoke.ReplyDelete
One of our mentors in the glass business refused to retire. All his brothers died within a year or two of retiring. He did eventually retire but I lost track of him. I think it happens to people whose whole lives have been their work, not outside interests or hobbies and they die of boredom or inactivity.Delete
Moved by the love in this post, I don't know what to do except thank you and your father.ReplyDelete
I remember the first time I gave birth. While I was in labor I kept thinking how the world was out there, going along in its way as I was in this incredible travail. How could this be? And yet, yes. Birth and death are going on all around us even as we buy flour and onions at the grocery store, even as we mop our floors.ReplyDelete
He's come full circle then. I was listening to Karen Armstrong today and she was saying how much anxiety it causes humans beings, the awareness we have of our own death. I liked her. She was a nun and now belives that god is everywhere; the divine is all around us and within all of us.ReplyDelete
Those snow-covered fields look like water. You will always remember this time with your father, as hard as it may seem.ReplyDelete
And did that moment transform anything for you? Give you some sort of peace with your relationship with your father? I hope so. Not for him but for you. This may have been the last moment you will have with him but then he does seem to be a stubborn old bastard.ReplyDelete
This is beautiful. Thank youReplyDelete
This was all touching, moving, beautiful. But "The Franconian countryside was covered in snow" was, well, the kicker for me. I guess it is because my own mother died when the countryside was covered with snow. It seemed so right. I'm glad he recognized you and said your name. What a moment that must have been for both of you.ReplyDelete