Friday, November 13, 2009

dark indeed, but not all dark

This isn't getting any easier to transcribe.
The image of my dad laying in the bed in West Roxbury with the covers pulled over his head weeping in despair--
he did that; laying back in his chair with the covers over his head; napping, sometimes just hiding, his escape and creation of a small warm safe space--he did that for as long as I can remember, and especially when he was feeling sick, tired, in pain, or depressed. I found it endearing and annoying at times. Perhaps I felt shut-out.

Wheelchair life stole from my father a kind of privacy that most of us take, I think, for granted. He was so often literally stuck in situations and his private world, his vulnerabilities, emotional and physical, exposed. I would want to cover up too.

I think of Sam and Oliver playing 'tent' under the covers, of children everywhere's delight in constructing forts made of sheets, blankets, towels, etc. The safety of those warm enclosed places, where the world shrinks to manageable dimensions, where the light is diffuse and kind.

I recall that hospital as well, very large, echoey, long halls going on into infinity, mazes of elevators, a world within a world, with a movie theater , a chapel, cafeterias, and people always smiling at me--the way the nurses always smiled at my children when I took them into the hospitals and nursing homes where my dad spent so much of the last few years of his life. Little rays of sunshine and youth, unpredictable and shining. I recall urging me dad to try, "just try", to for instance move his thumb, --not really understanding how, if he wanted to bad enough, he couldn't. I recall seeing a creature-double -feature in the movie theater one long afternoon. I don't recall the book reading and in fact I can't even conjure up my father's face, in a bed or sitting in a wheelchair, or anything. My memories are mostly of the periphery of things, the sharp inhuman details, of buttons, tubing, blinking lights, strangely welded metal contraptions.

I am lost in colliding emotions as I reflect on this last bit--Stronger than any thought is this thumping visceral urge to hold him, to hug and hug and not let go...

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