Memories – Old Slices

Reading Spartina by John Casey. Not my favorite topic – boat life in New England – but I’ve dog-eared so many pages of good stuff. Like a memory of a father that brought tears to my eyes and looming memories of mine. I fight the slide into my father’s later life.

He sits alone in his recliner in his big empty house waiting for the phone not to ring. Year after year. And it doesn’t. Financial papers are strewn in piles at his feet, waiting for the attention he will never again give them. He hates what’s happening to him;  watching the bedrock of his life – his superior mind – crumble into dust.

“How’re you doing Dad?” I ask.”

“I’m gonna jump off the bridge.” or “I’m gonna shoot myself.” or some other form of suicide.

“We want to take you out for dinner.”

“Got stuff in the fridge I gotta use up.”

Right. Like the moldy bacon?  Or the bottle of orange juice, so sour that Terry spewed it out like a surging fire hydrant after the first swig. He’s stubborn just to be stubborn. So closed up inside he can’t break out of his hard Cancer shell. He’d rather suffer loneliness than crack open and let his guts spill out. 

But time passes. The teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling stage subsides until he forgets how to be stubborn and closed in; forgets how to hate losing his mind.

And at long last. He smiles and hugs and kisses me hello and good-bye. He (the absolute atheist) goes to church because he likes the music and sings along. He says ‘I love you’ for the first time in my life.

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Jill Green

I’m a lazy writer trying to get tech savvy. I’ve blurted into blogging to get some of my thoughts, cravings, interests, writings out into the web world. I live in Costa Rica and Florida. Most of my somewhat autobiographical writings are about those places. If you’re interested check in.

7 thoughts on “Memories – Old Slices”

  1. Jill, Kimm and I were remembering some family get togethers in the Venice house after your dad had gone to live with his caretaker. She would bring him in and he would be so happy going around (and around again) introducing himself to people. I remember someone getting out an old photo album and being amazed that, even in his advanced state, he actually remembered the name of the dog in the picture from when he lived in France! He really seemed in a good place at that stage. I remember his caretaker telling us that she would take him to Rev. Porter’s African American church and that he would sing and get up and dance. What a sight that must have been!

  2. I’ve got some memories, too… Like catching him keeping his pill under his tongue until it dissolved and his red smile gave him away… Or leaning in to hug him and getting a goose on the ass when he thought I was a cute nurse instead of his grand-daughter. Still spicy in those hazy minded times!
    I, too, remember the softening in him — winning me over to relax my apprehension around him, who had mostly been a scary and serious specter of great intensity as I was coming up. I think I learned a lot about compassion as I experienced both Fifi and then he, succombing to aging and their struggles with the knowledge of losing keenness of mind… I have a certain fondness for the childlike regression they both arrived at by the end.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane…

  3. Your memories are so important and now I have them down. Got some from Kim/Mart too. Maybe the beginnings of a family memoir. Keep em coming. Know you’re busy. Love you.

  4. You write with such feeling, I really enjoy reading your stories. It is interesting how a moment can become an important memory and in a way become part of who we are.

  5. Of all the memories you instill within me, this one is the most poignant. Our fathers must have been a lot alike. How hard is was to watch him deteriorate and wilt away. He, more than most, understood it was about the journey. But when the journey was near its end, and he was no longer an active participant, he gave up. How do we keep that from happening to us? 🙂 Keeping the memories alive is an important aspect. Keep writing! I’ve always loved your words. 🙂 See you soon, I hope. Marita

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