Just like Chaplin

We had my father over for Easter dinner on Sunday.
My sister wanted to pick him up and bring him over; something I believe she had to do.
I think she fears there won’t be many more left to share.
Sadly, I would have to agree.
Actually, I would have agreed over a year ago.
I have to give her credit for going through the rigmarole of getting him ready, seated safely in the car and bringing him over to our house.
I've been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.

My father has a difficult time walking these days reminding me more of Charlie Chaplin than the man I once called “Dad”.
It's an unfortunate physical side effect of a brain at war with neurological disintegration.
We eventually got him into my living room and plopped him down in my favorite chair: one, because the chair is just so damn comfortable and two, because when we finally let him go, it would be impossible for him to miss it.

We all sat down to eat and my sister and I filled his plate with ham, green beans and Augratin potatoes, all of which we cut up into pieces to make it easier for him to feed himself.
And feed himself he did.
He ate everything on the plate.
Either my cooking was really good that day or where he’s currently staying is really bad. Whatever the case, it was wonderful to see him enjoy a meal.
He didn’t speak a word as he ate.

My wife caught him stabbing at an empty spot on his plate. She gently rotated his plate to where the food was and he was none the wiser.
Mission Accomplished.

The rest of the afternoon went off without a hitch.

After eating, we ushered him back to my chair where he fell asleep; perhaps shuffling through his own little world of monochromatic movie screens and silent dreams…a sleeping Chaplin.

We woke him an hour or so later and got him back into the car.
As I fastened his seat belt, I looked at him as he peered over the rims of his glasses and I said, “No Boston Marathon for you tomorrow, young man.”

I’m sure he didn’t understand a word I said but knew enough to do a little chuckle and mutter, “Yeah”.

He plays the game so well most days so why the hell can’t I?

For me, the Easter cupboard was somewhat threadbare in terms of holiday revelations and personal epiphanies but I did get to marvel over the way my Dad still gets through his days. In many ways, he’s graceful in a way I will never be.
As long as his surreal movie keeps playing, I’ll continue to watch him as he shuffles through his seemingly silent world, just like Chaplin.

~m

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8 thoughts on “Just like Chaplin

  1. Awww. That was a very touching post. I am glad you are able to find warmth and humor in this sad situation. I hope your father will be as comfortable as possible for the rest of his days, and know (somewhere in his silent movie world) that he has a very loving son.

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  2. This reminds me so much of my Grandma before she passed away. The hardest part for me was the day she finally forgot who I was. In her mind I was still a 9 year old girl.

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  3. Thanks for sharing what must have been an emotional day…not easy to give up a memory to the world, some are so precious you just want to hold them inside where no-one can see them..

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  4. I want to thank all of you for commenting on this post.
    This is the kind of writing that I feel I do fairly well.
    Snapshots of life neatly placed on a page is where I usually where I find my stride.
    It means the world to me that some of you were moved by the post.
    It means I've done my job.
    Thanks for reading.

    ~Michael

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