Wednesday, October 31, 2012

puzzle pieces 1

one of the tasks left to me in these days after Mom and Dad is 'puzzling' - the taking apart and the putting back together of a picture

dismantling
pulling apart the days and words,
the looks and the events,

finding fragments, scattered pieces
of conversations and stories
held together by Mom and Dad all of their days

notes from my journal

August 2, 2009
Clear Lake
So. Mom and Dad show their fragility differently here. Mom stood under the Saskatoon bush, determinedly ... and matter of factly – not with joy, exactly, but with great pleasure, picking the luscious berries. It was not long before Dad joined her under the bush, harvesting. She wears her hats pointedly, daring you – but only a small dare with her eyes – to make a comment. “Baldy” she whispers accusingly to me as I hug her. She picked 8 buckets of Saskatoons last week, she says with pride. After 6 you get one free. And she brings out her pail, with sugar and cream, for us to feast on her fruits.

Their love language is provision. It is no gift to tell them not to bring anything; that we will provide. It is robbery. They place their provisions on the table, and their eyes shine as we savour.
We (the non-golfers) went on a hike to the boardwalk yesterday. A fairly level, and short hike with resting places that wouldn’t make them feel weak if they chose to sit, I thought. Dad doesn’t like the grandchildren’s rough play. He is afraid someone will get hurt.

We came to the fork in the hike – where you could choose to go longer, or choose to go back. Mom knew, and without apology said she was going the short way, but we could continue if we wanted. We all went the short path, and mom didn’t need to be convinced to sit for a while on the bench before the final hill to the cabin.
They have become observers – taken a step away from being enablers. This is the greatest sign I see of their journey. Dad wants to play the games, but the rules frustrate him. They dominate him, taunting his long domination over them. The colors elude him, the rules confuse him, and wrestle with his desire to engage in play with his children and his grandchildren. And mom must explain again. And play his hand with him. And this frustrates her. Her backpack is loaded to capacity, and perhaps exceeds capacity, for on these miles of their journey she carries much of his load as well as her own.

They retire early, they are easily chilled.
Dad joined us at the lakefront yesterday, followed us after we had gone.
Sat on the bench with Janine for a while, watching our football in the sand.
But the wind was cold if you were not running.
So he soon got up and walked back,
his frail frame listing – only slightly – towards the water.

His grandchildren throw the ball for miles, and chase each other in the sand, pushing each other into the ever cold Clear Lake (where Grandpa long ago baptized us into his family with a 50 horse West Bend moter)... wrestling and laughing and competing.