I’ve yet to write much about my Dad – not sure i’m ready. He died in 2002. Rather than tackle that, here’s an indirect look, providing another glimpse of life in The Park.
Dad was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer in 1998. The prognosis was grim, with somewhere between 6-12 months expected. Mom, a retired psych nurse, proved to be a rather remarkable caregiver, devoting incredible energy to keeping him alive. He lived until 2002, and of the last years, there were some good moments and her efforts gave us more time.
Genetically, we are not a family of ‘wasting away’ people – even after over 3 years of chemo, he was still around 260 lbs when he died. After a fall in his room, it became obvious that we might need to rearrange the clutter in the house to allow better access for the emergency squad if necessary.
I suggested to Mom that we temporarily move a bookcase full of old record albums to the garage to clear a path down the hallway. This was reinforced by my brother-in-law, a paramedic.
Her response: “We’ll just go out the window with him…”
Before i could censor myself: “Did you just say that a bookcase full of dusty old records is more important to you than my dying father’s dignity?”
Defensively – “that’s not what i said…”
“Well that’s what i heard”.
My brother-in-law and i quietly moved the bookcase to the garage that weekend. And after Dad died, i moved it back without fanfare.
Every time i visit, i see it sitting there, amidst the overwhelming clutter. Unused. Covered with dust. Still pissing me off…
Things before people.
Not a conscious thing…hardwired into her. Growing up during the depression did that to some people. But it’s always there – and i’m still trying to let it go.