Thursday, December 10, 2015

94 -- But Not Counting

"To sleep, perchance to dream"

end of summer smile
shades made for the afterlife
fists pep pop tabletop

--Haiku Cola

Today is my father's 94th Birthday.

To celebrate in Savannah my brother is taking Dad for ice cream and a look at the nearby lake. Dad has no idea it is his birthday. My brother goes over each Saturday to persuade him to leave the bed and go for an afternoon outing that usually involves fast food ice cream.

It would be nice to say his life is comfortable. It would be nice to say he is well cared for. After all, has he not lived to the very ripe age of 94? Without home care. Without a bath or shower. Without food except for nutritious "shakes." Or, as my brother reports, gobbling up everything on his plate for Thanksgiving when there was real food to eat. Like Rip Van Winkle, he spends long hours in slumber; only he will not awake to a wondrous future.

Not that I have room to complain about his being ignored and left uncared for.  He and I have no relationship any longer to speak of. I see him on Saturdays on my I-Pad and he tells me to shave. Today, he was rather lively, saying he had peach ice cream and repeatedly surprised to hear it's his birthday.

Dad's quips include still the desire to chase after girls. Sometimes he sings for the I-pad.
The military man, the retired colonel is gone. So too the Savannah lawyer. He still mentions Kathy's name with love and devotion. But much as we might think, or wish, he does not see the world through rose colored glasses. He is a shade wearing shades. He has become the archetype of countless aged souls who are left to fade away, those around him daily expecting him to die, leaving him seldom washed (unless he can manage to shower himself), without medicine of any kind to help him, or anyone to encourage some minutes of exercise.

Yes, I feel sad for the old man I long, long ago played chess with. He is gone. And yet, he lives. How I love the irony of the photo of him and his umbrella with Munch's Scream

Dad has been most often the stoic, screaming only in irrational anger, never-- that I recall-- in pain or anguish. His smile has always included his defiance.

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