Friday, November 1, 2013

One More Moment

I turned to leave catching a glimpse of his brown eyes casting so much feeling, it made words unnecessary.  He was afraid.  Afraid to move after the fall.  This made everything worse. The Parkinson's Disease didn't help either.  The Physical Therapist had him in a hoist to support his weight giving him a sense of stability.  In a soft voice that I thought would be reassuring I cooed, "It will be OK Daddy.  You'll be OK." I guess I was in denial. I left.

When I was a little girl, the day after Halloween marked a day when I would slide into a pew at St. Mary's Church in Biddeford and pray for people I did not know.  All Soul's Day.  The list went back by generations-family that remained nameless.  "I pray for my grandmother's mother, my grandmother's father,  my grandmother's grandmother," I mouthed.  It didn't feel real.  Just an obligation.  Never did I realize at seven years old that I would one day be praying for the souls of my grandmother, my grandfather, my mother, my father, my aunts and my uncles.  

"I can't be here.  I can't," I managed to whisper breathlessly.  "I can't breathe.  An elephant is on my chest. I can't do it."  Closing my eyes, I remained motionless.  My body heavy and incapable of supporting my own weight in a seated position, never mind move to another room or the hall where I could forget.  

"If you leave.  You can never take this moment back," my sister confided. Choking back tears, I thought about how I had left my father a few days ago.  This time I stayed.  I needed to be here for my father.  Through this transition.  

Today my "All Soul's List" is just as long as when I was seven years old, but now I can remember how my father's bearded cheek scratched against my face when he snatched a kiss.  I remember the oversized hand that reached out to walk me safely across the road.  Old Spice after shave brings a flood of real memories. My heart aches in longing for one more moment.

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