Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What a Goose Can See

My father lived with us for a while at the end of his sojourn in this dimension. He was blind and contended with some rather odd memory puzzles. He would come to the kitchen for coffee, bacon and eggs of a morning and exclaim that he was like a goose, waking up in a new world everyday. And indeed, he had "forgotten" during the night that he couldn't see.

One morning, late in his game, he came sans "walking stick" out of his room with a misplaced spring in his step. He was supposed to have died several months, even a couple of years, earlier and seemed actually to be finally giving in. We had been knocked off our feet a few times over the past weeks with not a few surprising and alarming episodes--dementia, acute memory malfunction, hallucinations.

But this morning, he fairly waltzed into the kitchen re-affirming that we had made a good decision to move to this new place we were in. Never mind that we had been there for several years, already.

"Penny, this is not a bad little place, now, is it?" His back-hand way of saying he highly approved. "I think I'll go outside and have a look around."

I hovered, because by this time he could not see two steps in front of him, but he didn't know that. He walked through the doorway into the living room and saw a wide, happy yard where the kids could romp and cavort like little prairie dogs. He raised his feet and stepped over small logs or down the porch steps, approving of our new home.

Carefully, like you would with a sleep walker, I guided him back to his seat at the table where he peppered and over-salted his runny fried eggs and slurped piping hot, black (actually, it was amber-colored--our attempt to curb his caffeine intake) coffee with a certain well-earned satisfaction and contentment. The day wore on, got more and more "hazy" for him, and eventually, there we were, back in Kansas.

That was several years ago, but when I remember that morning, I remember the new place we had moved to. I remember that wide, happy yard, those logs and bushes, the broad porch, right there in my living room, and I was happy seeing through a blind man's eyes.


Nancy Campbell Allen said...

What a beautiful memory. Isn't it an odd thing, to parent our parents. I wonder what challenges I'll gift my children with.

I'll bet your dad is smiling at you from beyond.

Penny said...

Yeah...there's still a lot of feeling I haven't finished thinking or writing about that time in our lives, but don't you think it's also kind of strange that I would remember something that wasn't really real, like that "vision" he had of our new place?!

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

You know, that vision of what wasn't real was probably a really bright spot in the midst of life that had become really hard. It's no wonder you would remember such a positive moment. Those are the tender things that, every now and then, I look heavenward and think, "Please, let me never forget this moment."

Amy said...

this post hit home for me... We just moved my dad into wasatch manor care this weekend. He is only 68 but has a disease called myasthenias gravis which affect the nerve endings that talk to his muscles. So his muscles are very week and he is unable to do many things for himself right now. Its been hard to watch and not knowing what the future will bring... Thanks for sharing your story.

Jillian said...

I miss Grandpa's everyday thoughts!Sometimes when I would watch him blissfully unaware of the way the world around him was going down in a fast spiral , I envied him , and the way he was only concerned about his coffee! "AAAHHAAA momma seita rosalita!" (or however you spell it)