Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dear Dad

I'm really missing you tonight. It's almost 2 in the morning, your time. Your time. Time doesn't mean much for you anymore. When I come to see you, I could've been away for 5 minutes or 25 years. It doesn't register for you. But you always look at me with your big blue eyes and say "Where you been?"

I still have a very hard time believing that you're in a nursing home. I go over that phrase in my head. Over and over it. "Nursing home." It becomes a non-phrase. A cartoony image of a house with teats hanging off all 4 sides, and all the patients in their wheelchairs are leaning forward, nursing on them to stay alive. These are the little rodeos my mind sets into motion when I try to just hold reality in my hand like a warm rock. Suddenly the rock becomes too warm, hot, scalding, and I throw it hard and run for cover, waiting for the retaliation.

Late last night, as I was bleary-eyed from reading yet another book on Alzheimers, I suddenly wondered: If you were still you, and I had a baffling disease that had wrapped around me like tentacles from an unseen giant of the sea, would you be reading books about it? Would you be turning page after page in books written by those who had watched the tentacles squeeze the life out of their daughters?

Would you sit by my bed and stroke my hair and say the words I say to you? "You can relax and go to sleep. You're right where you're supposed to be. You're safe. And we all love you."

I think you would. I hope you would.

I miss you so much. I miss your silly sense of humor. I miss the way you'd walk up and put your arms around Mom as she washed dishes. I miss seeing you in your denim overalls, getting off your tractor and coming inside the house for the noon meal.

I miss the way you'd stand in front of the bathroom mirror, combing your hair before going out with Mom in the evening, and you'd laugh and say "I'm a good lookin' bastard, aren't I?"

I miss the very basics. I miss seeing you walk.

I think about what it would be like to have you back in your real mind. And how miraculous. Even for one hour. If you suddenly "woke up" and looked at us and said "What was all THAT about?" We would stand like figurines, frozen in shock at the old you landing back inside yourself. Mom would put both hands on her face and then both hands on your face. "Are you really here?" she'd say. "Are you home again?"

And I wouldn't want to, but I would leave the room, and take everyone out with me, except for you and Mom. I would close the door softly, and let you live your whole lives over again in the next 59 minutes.


  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger Citlali said…

    Big, big, big hug. = ]

  • At 12:14 AM, Anonymous JWebb said…

    "What was all THAT about?"

    Indeed. I suspect that phrase will be on all our lips as we individually slip into eternity. But what a marvelous eternity! No more pain, worry, anguish or tears. Those 59 minutes will stretch into forever. We've been promised this. And the Big Guy can't lie. . .

  • At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    Wow. Got me right here.

  • At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have the same thought after reading both your latest posts-- "A Mother's Work..." and "Dear Dad."

    I along with my Faithful Companion recently watched a PBS presentation about dogs. A man with a Labrador Retriever that was approaching its final days was reminded of a New Yorker cartoon he once saw: A man looks at his watch and says, 'What time is it?' ---- and his dog responds, 'Now! now! now! now!'

    Maybe too Zen for you, but worth considering. I love you. --Steve

  • At 7:49 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Thank you, Citlali.

    I did actually feel a little better after I wrote that. Relieved some pressure.

    JWebb, and we'll probably see that it really was just the blink of an eye. The whole thing. A quick blip on the Pong screen of eternity.

  • At 7:49 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…


    Hi. We should meet.

  • At 7:54 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Not too ZEN at all. I haven't forgotten when you and I read "Wherever You Go, There You Are." Very important book in my life. And you're the one who made me read it.

    I do try to stay in the moment. When I get too lost in the past or the future, I look around and do something with the right now. Like go hug Scott or at the very least, do the dishes. Although I prefer the hugging.

    Really love that cartoon you described.

  • At 8:09 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    p.s. to Steve

    I love you too. I sent you a blouse. :)

  • At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks, Candy. I needed that. I mean REALLY. :)

  • At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are a treasure. Listen again to Simon and Garfunkle ( or Joan Baeze probably didn't spell that right) sing "Hello in there". Your dad is in there, and we are, too. Love you big. Anita

  • At 4:15 PM, Blogger Jerry said…

    This is what it means to be an old man. No matter who you are or where you live; the emotional experience is the same.

  • At 9:11 AM, Blogger MamaMidwife said…

    God Bless you and your family. I can't imagine how hard it is. {{{{{{hugs}}}}}}} - even though I've never met you, I want to squeeze you and tell you it will be OK.

    I'll pray for your dad. And your mom.

  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger E. said…

    I'm sitting here just crying. This is so beautiful, so sweet, and so heartbreaking.


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