Sunday, November 10, 2013
I am sipping on a latte at Starbuck’s, something I rarely do now. Since my father’s diagnosis of dementia my routine of daily walks of walking, stopping at a local cafe bar for a latte and writing has virtually been non-existent. My new routine of taking dad to Tim Horton’s for his morning coffee has had a huge impact on me. Day after day of watching his cognition decline to repetitive phrases, no awareness of seasons or dates, and perpetual confusion have marked my soul in ways I never imagined.
The past year has been very hard on my family as we settle into a routine of taking care of dad and keeping him out of a nursing home. It’s really only been the past few weeks where I have been able to do both, take my dad for morning coffee and then wipe away my tears and find the courage to go for a walk.
Yes, I have been crying more. Just spent the last 3 days hibernating at home, too many tears to leave the house. Today is Sunday. This is the day that the Lord has made and I forced myself to leave the house and go for a walk. Last night I had a dream of the path by the river, and in the dream I was back in my grandparents’ house. Their house was on the corner lot of Mission and Perron Street and the back yard was on the bank of the Sturgeon River. When I woke up from my dream I felt a longing to be near the river.
I made a plan, to walk to the river, lie down in the snow and make a snow Angel. It was easier bundling up in snow pants, winter jacket and mitts and walking the 15 minute walk to the river knowing that I had a mission. When I got to the spot I had already chosen in my mind I looked down at the fresh white blanket of snow and thought to myself, “How will I ever get up again?” I giggled to myself and gently lowered myself to the ground. I could feel the cold wet snow touching my ankles as I tried to get in position for the perfect snow Angel. Looking up at the grey sky with snowflakes falling on my cheek, I laughed and moved my arms and legs in snow Angel fashion. I did it, and in one tiny moment I felt like a kid again. Free, and happy. I didn’t even mind the pain in my joints as I tried to get myself up out of the snow bank and back on my path.
My steps felt somewhat lighter as I continued on my walk by the river in the cold and the snow. I should definitely make snow Angels more often.
I am here now, at the second destination on my journey today. Sitting in Starbucks looking out the window at the parking lot where on a cold winter day in December of 1999, I had the personal revelation “there must be an Angel in my pocket.”
I am still writing my story and know the title will be “Angel in My Pocket.” What is not clear in my mind is whether I am writing 2 books or just one. I have one book that is outlined with my angel encounter and Jason’s chemotherapy days. And the other book is just this one, my journal, a continuation of Count it All Joy.
I have not been able to write about chemo days for the past 12 months. Last year I did have a steady pace of going back to the yellow flannel pajama days but then dad’s battle with dementia has stopped me from reliving the chemo days of 87. There was single parenthood, nursing school and childhood cancer all enveloped in a bundle of pain and my mother and father were there every step of the way. I haven’t quite been able to go back to the hospital room days where dad watched Jason while he was getting chemo, and mom was at home taking care of Brandon and I was in nursing school trying to study so I could provide a good life for my boys.
I am waiting on God, to give me the peace and the courage to go back to those days that have mad my soul in such a profound way.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tomorrow is Christmas Day and dad has no idea it’s a holiday. Christmas was his favorite time of the year and he loved telling us stories of seeing Santa in the North Pole on his last truck run to Whitehorse. He always brought home a fresh evergreen tree cut from some field on the drive home from the north trips he made.
We are truly blessed to still have dad at home with us. The gift of time we have is not lost on us.
Jason’s chemo days will be written one day. But for now I just want to enjoy precious moments with my dad and my family. Merry Christmas
copyright Sheila Ethier 2014