Monday, August 05, 2013

on finalities

Last night was the final time my dad will have slept in his bedroom. Brigham went over tonight and helped my mom move a guest bed downstairs. The steps have become a hazard we can no longer risk. So today he came down the steps for the last time.
Last time on the trampoline, April 2012

He has always been preoccupied, to put it lightly, with time in general and with "last times" specifically. A few years ago when they bought their car my dad remarked that it would be the last car he would ever buy. We rolled our eyes and assured ourselves that he was in great health and 65 was not really that old. It isn't, but I have awakened to the fact that such things are no guarantee.

A girl I went to high school with died on Thursday morning while delivering her second baby into the world. So unexpected, so shocking and unlikely that it seems that the universe should have to give her back under the logic that it is basically impossible for such a thing to happen in this day, in an American hospital. She left her house that morning full of anticipation at meeting her new long-awaited baby and she never met him and she never came back. Her last time had no hint of farewell in it.

I have wondered which is worse and I don't have a definite answer, but I can say that I think there is mercy in being able to knowingly say goodbye, have a little time to make peace, make things right, make some more happy memories, even if it is all done under the shadow of grief. I am grateful, though, that last fall when we took our big family trip to Las Vegas, organized by great-uncle Louie, we didn't know what the next few months held. We did the trip right and went to the Grand Canyon and soaked up all our minutes together in happiness and sunshine and we didn't have to do it cloaked in a sadness that it would be the last trip, counting down to the last days of conversations, of easy togetherness.
Zions National Park, October 2012, last family trip

I have been preoccupied with last times, too, especially as a mom. The last time that I would nurse each of my babies, the last diaper, the last of each of those little daily routines that kids seem they will be in forever and then gradually just are out of. It is such a sadness to focus on that side of things, the ending, the closing of a chapter in a stage of childhood. But with the last times I think about, the melancholy is short-lived because there is a new fun beginning just barely unfurling before us gleaming with all the possibility and experiences and memory-making in store.

These last times with Dad, though, don't open up into new rooms of light and possibility. Not that I have found. All I can really do is mark the days.
Our last family beach vacation, August 2012

1 comment:

Momo Cannon said...

I am glad that your family has these sweet times with your Dad. We savor times like these and they become etched in our memories. I loved the time I spent with my mother before she passed with cancer. It was bitter and sweet.