Whenever I go to see my father I find myself ever closer to the sad awareness that he’s all alone in an ever increasing strange world.
Nothing is as he once knew it— the people and places in his life are vague and as distant as the Horsehead Nebula in the belt of the constellation Orion.
I can no longer see the man I once called my father through the thick fog of perplexity that presently surrounds him. He was never a touchy-feely kind of guy and it’s remarkable to me that these days, in my touch, he finds solace. I hold his hand, rub his back and pat his shoulder and surprisingly, he lets me.
I almost want him to snap out of the disease induced trance he’s in and say, “What the hell are you doing? Holding my hand. Jesus. Whaddaya gettin' fruity?!”
“Jesus” is pretty close to right, Dad, truth be told. He’s the one I feel I’m talking to when I utter the obtuse and one-sided conversations that I want no one else to hear.
There’s a new woman named Virginia (my mother’s name) at the facility where my Dad is and I’m told that whenever someone calls her name, my father turns his head and looks around.
In that microcosm of a moment, my mother is there and I’m thinking my father senses that.
I don’t witness it but I can't help but wonder if he’s missing her.
Part of me is happy that he harbors this memory of her somewhere inside while another part of me feels his sense of pain and abandonment.
But maybe that’s just my rational mind working overtime.
I went to my mother’s grave the other day.
The cemetery was quiet, save for a light breeze whispering through the trees.
There were no tears for my mom, I’ve shed them and I know she’s finally at peace in a beautiful garden of stars in the heavens, my heart can smile.
But I can still hear my own internal voice asking the same simple question I’ve been asking since they both got sick: Why? Why, God?
They never even got to say goodbye.
The world around me is silent and I realize that I’m alone . . . just like my Dad.