I got Scarlet Fever when I was five and I still remember some of the dreams I had then or maybe it is more accurate to say I remember knowing at five they weren’t right.
They felt almost normal and yet at the same time they were strange, they were what my Hebrew speaking friends and family would call מוזר
Many years later I heard my grandparents were very concerned because they knew people who died from the same illness.
Many years later I wonder if they would think of my father’s death in slightly different terms than I do in the sense they grew up during a time when life spans were shorter and illness more powerful.
It would still bother them and they would be concerned but I wonder if part of it would be less troublesome because it would fit with their experience in a way that is more familiar to them than to me.
Seven months and a few days ago I went to a deli for breakfast with mom and my middle sister. Can’t remember whether it was before or after 7 AM, could have been later, but it was definitely after I walked with the guy from the mortuary to where my dad’s body lay at the hospice.
The man and a hospice nurse closed the door so they could take his body from the hospital bed and place it upon the gurney they would use to move it to a minivan.
They don’t know I almost insisted on helping them move dad. I didn’t because I wasn’t sure if it would set off my mom and my sister or how I would feel.
Memories Come Back Slowly
One of those I hold most dear told me that things would be a blur and that memories would come back in strange ways.
It is true, the days at the hospice, those before the end and the days that came after are somewhat blurry. I remember lots of things and yet there are still pieces that break off from the icebergs in the subconscious and float to the surface.
They aren’t necessarily important, significant or meaningful, though some are.
It is not uncommon for people to see one hand in my left pocket and occasionally I’ll hear dad make a comment about paying attention to what you do with your hands so that people don’t think you are playing pocket pool.
Sometimes I silently respond to the voice and say I am holding a pocket knife because it takes a bit of the edge off. I suppose I ought to mention dad always had a pocket knife on him and that it hasn’t ever been uncommon for me to have one either.
But since he died it is more common for me to carry one than not and it is not always appropriate to take out said pocket knife everywhere I go. So sometimes I reach into my pocket and simply hold it in my hand.
Depending on when and where I am at I may not do a damn thing with the knife. Sometimes I’ll check the flashlights (yes plural) in the car to make sure the batteries are good and or take inventory of the tools.
I rarely carry a complete set but I almost always have a socket set, hammer, a couple of screwdrivers and a wrench or two. Not to mention jumper cables, I ALWAYS have jumper cables in my car.
If I don’t it is because I am not driving my vehicle and even then it is possible I stuck cables in the trunk of whatever I am in just because.
When I look at the reflection in the mirror I see a much older man than I expect to. He is far more worn out in appearance and I wonder if it really matters.
It is not that life has been so hard but it hasn’t been so easy either.
So I ask myself if I had an easier road to hoe up to now would I really look that different?
Maybe, but maybe not.
The one thing that makes me crazy is there is more of me than there should be and though more has become less it hasn’t happened with the speed I wish for it to.
But life, it is not always so simple.
The Simple Things
If I were the passionate shepherd come to life I would have things to say. If I were Johnny Cash I’d have things to say to June.
If I were any number of people I’d have things to say.
But I am not any number of people. I am just an ordinary Joe who is staring at 50 and thinking about the second half of life.
An ordinary guy who is focused on spending time with the people that are important and the people who are interested in sharing experiences. That has become bigger and bigger to me.
I keep looking around and asking what happens if we spend our lives doing things alone.Where are those who supposedly are supposed to be doing it with us.
Are they not there because we don’t want them to be or are they not there because they don’t want to be.
Those questions were posed at a dinner with the guys and the answers that followed were pretty consistent. There was the comment about about decades into relationships it is ok to have different interests followed by if you never do anything together why are you wasting time.
That came from the divorced guys, but it made sense to me.
With the second half around the corner it is more important to me to focus on the simple things and to focus on how to achieve them.
Who do you want living in the castle with you or does it not matter because you have settled for what you have gotten. It is a funny time, this moment.
I suspect I would be here even if dad was still around, but his not being here amplified the importance for me.
There is more to be said but the arctic weather has made its way into the house and the Scotch is no longer keeping me warm enough to ignore it.
Time to move somewhere else. Time to stop babbling and start moving.