I know I’m not the first, nor the last, to have a parent in a nursing home. Still, it’s a first for me. Dad is in a nursing home. Since the surgical procedure to insert a shunt back in December, Dad has been home for just a fraction of time.
There are a litany of health reasons why he is where he is. I share this because it has been tearing me up. Seeing him as he is has been tough. I want to reach out and hold him up, to give him all of my strength.
Tears stream down my face night after night. Why? Because it’s my Dad. It’s him sitting there. It’s the guy I couldn’t stand to be away from as a boy. Maybe I could walk, but still he’d carry me, because I was his boy, he could, and there was the love that parents know. He was the face I waited to see at the end of the day. The one who spoke and I listened like all other voices were a mere suggestion of sound. The punchline to the jokes that we still tell. The laughter to the soundtrack of life that we all live. Now, words are scarce.
It is him, and he sits there. I sit close. He knows I am there. I know it even if it’s not always so apparent. We visit if you call it that. I come and I go. He stays there. He weeps with dignity, wanting just to be home. He cries when I leave. I cry after I leave, and into the darkness of night. And in an emotional outburst I am currently trying unsuccessfully to self-contain, I write.
I count the time between motion and the command given
Age lets me question this, disability? or simply not driven?
I don’t think it hurts, but I see pain in those baby blues
Fumbling for the things that we don’t even remember to use
Why is it, we learn so late to appreciate these small things?
Maybe we need to remember the joy that the details bring
Health has failed a little more each time it has come calling
Strides get lost because, the standard, it’s always falling
I know where it ends, but where on the path are we?
Better to pray, to trust, I have not the mind to foresee
Time is, time goes, we sit quietly, trapped between our ears
What do you say when the only weight is in yesteryears?
Maybe tomorrow, it’ll be better that day, just because
Even so, I hide a sigh, it’s never better, better than it was
My mind can’t help looking past those eyes into the mirror
What’s to come gets closer but the view isn’t any clearer
Looking for the simplest signs, you need not walk a mile
Just turn up the corners, I know where to find that smile
God knew, delivering precision from an imperfect brain
Many a sermon, and the vision to preach words ordained
The words are locked away now, but their message lives
Cohesion is gone, but we know them by the clues he gives
It’s all there, gravity just fails to hold all of it in place
At times I see the freedom by what’s missing in his face
No matter the pain; in him, there is breath, there is life
I am just the boy, taking cues from my mom, his wife
My eyes close and there they are, not so far away
My lips don’t move but with all my might, I pray