Friday, October 30, 2009

Taking a turn for the worse.

Looks like the hand to this game is not turning out as I hoped it would. Lots of high cards in the deck of gin. The curtain is about to close on my father's stage and the memories will have to live on.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting his bags packed.

This evening when I spoke to my mom on the phone, she provided another spark of humor that my dad distributed to the nurse at the hospice. Dad told her clearly that he was getting his bags packed for a trip and then became silent again. I wonder what dad must be packing for this trip when he leaves earth. For one would need an awful lot of stuff for such a long time.

Dad has lived a simple life and would not want a lot of fluff and flavor paid to him.
When I chatted with mom tonight, she recalled of the joys of the lobster party being crowded in the tent and how dad ate 10 shrimp appetizers, ate the lobsters and sucked out the meat from the claws and even ate his corn and my mom's corn on the cob. He had an appetite at his last big party and he always did when we ate at the table.

So no more big meals with dad at the table but have done so for many years. Only wish that I treasured them more. I should cherish times spent with friends more and I pray these words will help others establish a close bond to their loved ones as well.

At least no weight restriction on baggage. Probably wants to make sure he has enough underwear in case the laundry facilities get very busy in heaven.

Dad makes a mean bowl of oatmeal which is what I had most mornings before heading off to school. I remember him stirring the pot with the wooden spoon and tapping it on the side of the pan. And placing the spoon on the white side plate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gods signs

I awoke this morning and asked God to provide me with a sign of His Presence. I sat at my desk and saw a red lady bug at the edge of my desk. I put it in a coffee cup and saw it crawl around in it. Let it crawl on my hand for a few moments.
Then I placed it in the cup and put Kleenex over it. when I removed the cover, I did not see her in the cup.

I left work this evening and saw a rainbow across the sky faintly.

I was reminded by a friend, Kelly, to hang in there. Then I thought of life being a jungle gym. I sure have to hang in there. Sometimes higher up and sometimes low to the ground. There are many colored bars to this jungle gym that I am part of in this playground of life!!!

It is not an easy day for me as I found out my dad is terminal and is at Hospice Care. But I am glad that he will live out the last few months in dignity even though he won't be able to see the ocean directly.

lIfe is difficult for sure. Others have it worse.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ode to passing by the Fog

Life takes its turns and passageways.
Hard to guide through one's paths
unless under the steady hand of a father and a son.
Lord, you are my father and always be.
As my dad is imperfect and has nooks and crannies of pain.

Lord, remove and clear out those nooks and crannies

Replace them with your grace and love.

Lord, give a chance to whisper into my papas ear before he says goodbye.

Let me tell him that I love him and always will.

Thanks for letting him guide me through the seas of life and to drive on the open seas.

Lord, bless our remaining time together and apart.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mystery and intrigue

This is the month of the intrigue and this is the 400th post to this blog. Our memoir group along with the rest of Bridgeport and Shelton are reading The Maltese Falcon. Honestly, I am not into the detective story or crime shows on television. I always have trouble finding the plot and figuring out who did it. My mom loves to watch those detective series and movies and have watched many of them during My Maine vacations somewhat intrigued by the dialogue and the adventures of the detectives.

When I was growing up, every few months, I discovered that one of my black socks did not have a mate in my white dresser drawer. Did he or she run off and sneak through one of the holes in the washing machine or dryer. I never quite could figure that one out. Currently I have about a dozen mismatched socks and often run out of the house in the morning wearing some of them together.

When I walk through my life, I am amazed at how my body operates in such a regular rhythymn in my getting up automatically at night and am able to move from point A to point B almost by instinct. The intricacies that are built into our human bodies with all of the systems working in sync with each other. It is amazing to be alive and am taken back occasionally in my being aware of the complexity of it and to be present in an universe that has been created in the same way by our designer. Yet only being slightly aware of how it all works behind the scenes.

In the last few years, I have seen the frailty of life as my dad has traveled through the health care system in Maine using all of the health care components at Piper Shores from the independent apartment to assisted living and now onto the skilled nursing floor and several visits to the hospital.

I wish that I understood exactly what the key is to this puzzle of life in the brain. I myself did not start out with a full deck of neurons . Yet through the patience of my mom and specialists, we discovered ways that I could make sense of the world. It took patience and perseverance to match the different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. We separated the edges of the puzzle and matched them up and then found patterns, grouped them together and linked the pieces together. Forming a completed image from the top of the puzzle box.

I wonder why some like my dad have neurons that get tangled and reality and daily existence don't have the same rhythm that they used to. That is the nature of dementia. I have witnessed and seen the decline that happens as the natural way of living gets replaced with a dependency and a reliance of others. Roles get reversed and spouses turn into caregivers and life revolves around the solving of problems and issues and less time for the cultivating of the heart. The glimpses of humor and life that used to flow are now replaced by a trickle, a small current of water to be savored in this dry and arid land.

I sure wish that I could bring a fellow like Sam Spade along with me to Piper Shores on Happy Monday and have him travel along our path and point out clues to us to solve our medical problems and mysteries. They are ongoing and constantly changing. Not like Sam's mysteries that involve dead bodies and misplaced love.

Yet amidst this backdrop of understanding the brain, I am grateful to know that God has orchestrated the world in such a way to give me a sense of awe and wonder. I look out at the vastness of space and also at the vastness of the oceans in Maine. I don't see an end to either of them. It would take eons to travel them to the very heights and to their very depths. And discoveries are made every year as to how infinite they are. Being reached with precision by rockets and by submersible boats.

I am thankful to have part of some mysteries such as the northern lights over our Maine cottage. Dad called to mom and I and said," come out and look at the sky." I sat on the stairs with mom and dad and we looked to the sky. We saw thirty minutes of flashing and pulsating yellows and reds and oranges and blues circulating through the sky. We were amazed and full of awe as we witnessed this. Mom and Dad and I did not talk much during this display but listened as the heavens declared glory and beauty to this rare invitation of life along with the sound of the dancing crickets.

The way that life unfolds as a mystery is a lot like a deck of cards that gets played in a hand of gin. I can not see the faces of my dad's cards as he can't see mine. All I see at best are the cards that get discarded, only passing fragments that get shown briefly and then get lost in my memory as the game gets played. Life takes chance and risk to choose the right card and discard the wrong one. Yet the paths that get taken from the same 52 cards are different in each and every game. That is the most fascinating aspect of the game of gin and that journey for me started at the edge of my hospital bed 33 years ago.

I appreciate the quiet aspect of that game along with the few words of wisdom that get handed to me during it. I like the fact that I only have to hold 10 cards and not all 52. I like the fact that I can share the deck with dad and travel through several hands towards the score of 100. The last time I played, dad abridged Hoyle's rules to have a game consist of one hand. Easier to endure and enjoy. Yet, don't tell Hoyle that. At the end of the game, the cards get placed back into the box and put in a drawer. Having tallied up our wins in the ongoing scoreboard of life.

Mysteries are there for us to enjoy and ponder. Life would not be too much fun if they were easy. Wrestling and struggling for the answers can be downright agonizing for me. Yet, I experience joy every time as I look back at my filled squares to a double crostic or cryptogram and see that I solved the puzzle. Yet there are those times that I walk away from some unable to make heads or tails out of the puzzle clues given being frustrated but I knew that I took a stab at them.

So off I go on the adventure of this life. Not knowing what I will face. But willing to take a risk and knock with 6 as ten minutes have passed in the game of gin. Awaiting for my dad's matched cards to be laid down alongside mine and for him to smile as he matches his remaining cards to mine. And for him to lay down the two of clubs. Underknocking me resulting in a score of 29. So it's added up to another win. And for the next game to commence in this lifelong tournament of love and gin.