About Me-email is... grant.go@aol.com

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garden bay, west coast, Canada
persistent digging,never say never

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Final Frontier

Anger, frustration, love, jealousy, followed by guilt, fear and finally loneliness........

I left humor out for that is the one secret that Dad and I shared exclusively, never cry, never tell, never show your weakness and when all else fails make people laugh, today my laughter rolls down my cheeks in the form of wet salty tears....

My postings have been down because of medical issues, trip after trip to the big smoke where my humour and presence was required, as the only son in the family and mirror image of my father it was of the utmost importance that I show strength, humour and wisdom,.......

The clock, the dreaded clock and pendulum that never stops, middle age malaise, my friend Neil in Maple Ridge battles too, his battle is different but as emotionally challenging as any, Neil cares for his 80 year old mother, an 80 year old mother who is physically healthy as a horse but lives in full blown dementia, she eats lots, her voice is strong, her arm strength and legs are that of a young woman yet her mind is mush, Mavis(Neil`s mom) has about 5 stories she runs, at times she believes she is a little girl looking for her mom, at times she is a bitter angry spinster spewing threats, her favorite story is...She packs up her purse, gets dressed with outside working clothes and states that she is off to the mill to go to work, but only half the time when she plays out that scenario does she put on her pants, hers shoes are on, a heavy coat that hangs down to her knees but absent are her pants, ...So between visiting the hospital in Burnaby all day and returning to Maple Ridge to stay at Neil`s place my mind has been abuzz with too many thoughts about questions with no answers....Mavis, with her English accent is also enamoured with my car, not that it`s fancy or expensive but where I park at Neil`s place his mom can see it from the kitchen window, Mavis several times per day says..."Whose car is that, it`s lovely"...Neil will respond for the hundreth plus time that it`s Grant`s car.....So Saturday past about 12.00 pm midnight Mavis got on her outside working clothes including the long overcoat(absent of pants or underwear) and asked me to drive her to the mill, Neil of course told her for the zillionth time that the mill is closed and she doesn`t work there anymore, Mavis put her back up and was quite firm that I drive her to the mill....It was a perfect spot for some humour, I piped up, .."Mavis, we aren`t going anywhere until you get some pants on, can you imagine, what if I got pulled over at midnight driving around Maple Ridge with my friends 80 year old mother with no pants on, I would probably be jailed".....With that Neil, Lane and Mavis broke out in laughter and we got Mavis to go back to bed.....

A single loose stick or branch is very weak, easily broken, and that`s family, for on our own we are weak, vulnerable but when single branches, even tiny little branches are bundled together the strength is intensified, for as family we can`t survive as lone twigs but together, bundled, connected, as a group the weakest branches become part of the strongest force imaginable, Family....

Several years ago when Neil`s Mother Mavis was entering the world of dementia one of Neil`s brothers through guile(and without any other family members knowing) stole power of attorney from Mavis and quickly proceeded with getting a loan against the house, a line of credit account worth as much as the loan, to this day not one payment was made, the equal line of credit was used to make the payments, now that the line of credit is exhausted nothing but monthly interest is paid on the line of credit, Neil now lives two nightmares, watching a beautiful woman lose her mind while his brother has screwed every family member for his own financial gain, the evil brother never visits, he is merely waiting for Mavis to die to (Legally?) take the rest....For Neil and his family, I don`t believe the single sticks will ever be bundled into a unifying force....

My Dad(with mom at his side) called me from the hospital last week, his message to me was short and oh so sweet, dad said to me...."I`m proud of your writing son, keep your pen to paper, I love you son, goodbye"

Dad was in a lot of pain, I have one sister who couldn`t stop crying, her love for dad is unmatched, another sister was itching for a family fight, a third sister is stuck in the 80s and won`t let spilt milk be cleaned, a fourth sister wants to be mom, she has always played the moderator, and me.... I try to bundle the loose sticks into a unifying force.

I wept after dad said goodbye.

Sunday morning mom(who never left dad`s bedside for days and days, 24/7) called me from dad`s room and said it was close, the end is near, and as I drove to Burnaby hospital again, tears ran from my eyes, twice I had to pull over to wipe my eyes and clear my vision, thoughts, memories, anger, fear and finally loneliness occupied my mind, and then suddenly..... I realized that strength and calm clarity were required not emotions...

I walked into dad`s room, mom was there, dad laying in bed, he was gone, my mom wasn`t crying, she was strong, my mom showed me more courage than I`d thought possible, she made me stronger, my sisters were there, there was no anger in dad`s room, no spilt milk, no ancient history, there was a power of unity that I hadn`t seen for years, my dad was still laying in his bed, what a beautiful sight, he wasn`t in pain anymore, he was his handsome self at rest, for someone aged and gone he was beautiful, I saw every sister and grandchild in my dad, I saw the love and respect, and as my tears stopped a peaceful warm feeling filled my soul, I can`t explain it, for 2 hours in that room there was only love....

And when I left the Burnaby hospital to head home to Garden Bay the strangest thing happened, at a red light at Sunset street and Boundary road, a car pulled up in the left lane, it was a young family of four, the husband driving, two very young kids in the back seat and the wife in the front passenger seat, they had bikes and firewood tied to the roof of their little inexpensive car, the wife in the passenger seat wound her window down and wanted to talk....I obliged, she asked how the bikes and wood were doing on the roof of their car,... I said ...everything looks good...the woman then stated that they were heading to Alice lake for camping and they were so excited....And just before the light changed the sweet woman said to me,....

"Are you ok? you appear to be almost glowing"......I smiled and said...I`m fine, that`s my dad leading me home! The light changed and I drove off....What an odd thing for a complete stranger to say I thought to myself, odd enough that a stranger talks to you at a red light but add in what she said and it was utterly supernatural..... it made me smile...And on this particular Sunday afternoon heading for Horseshoe bay I caught every light green, I drove straight on the ferry with no wait and was parked in the strangest part of a half empty ferry, on a weird angle right next to the elevator, they could never park someone like that unless the ferry was half empty, again it made me smile, the remainder of my trip home was filled with smiling strangers and nice people, Dad definitely gave me his aura to lead me safely home.

Families are like sticks, as individual branches and twigs we are weak and vulnerable...But bundled together we are a life-force, powerful, as one bundled group of branches we return to what we always were....



Family!


Goodbye Dad, see ya soon


P.S....God bless Jack Layton and family too

The Straight Goods

Cheers Eyes Wide Open

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Grant,

So very sorry to hear of your dad's passing. My thoughts are with you and your family.

I know well the tears that flow when making that final trip to the hospital and that feeling that life will never be the same without a parent but it will be okay, thanks to all they contibute to who we are.

Your dad was blessed with having a "brilliant" son and the best son a dad could hope for.

His pain is gone and you are left with many fond memories and that is as it should be.

Deepest condolences and I'm so grateful he told you to keep pen to paper and that you continue to do all the great work that you do so well.

Thanks to you and your dad....

Jean

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry Grant. Your dad sounds like someone, I would have really liked to know. You are rich with wonderful memories of your dad. Keep those memories close with you....Your dad will never be far away. Your dad, did want you at peace.

You have been carrying, quite a load. I check your sight everyday, I was wondering if you were ok. I'm glad you are back.

I too am sad about Jack, and I'm sad for Olivia. They were so devoted to each other. I am sad for Canada too.

Jack will be missed.

Julie

Don F. said...

Hello Grant,
Today is a sad day as I hear of the passing of not only Jack Layton but also of your father.
My deepest condolences and heartfelt best wishes to you and to your family at this time.
Your father's words to you show the love you shared and how proud he was to have you as a son, he sounds like a very good man, one the world will surely miss and one who will be fondly and lovingly remembered forever.
My prayers are with you Grant.
Don

Royce said...

Grant, I am sorry to hear of your fathers passing as well. Your father took pride in your writing because I think he knew that your words give hope you give to those of us who read your words.
Words are powerful but at times they cannot help the pain felt when a parent is lost. My thoughts go out to you and your family
Royce

Chinese Sneakers said...

Laughed out loud at your joke with the naked granny. Too true; but, a good one. Nice writing.

Never knew your dad; but you have my condolences just the same.

And, i concur with him: you must keep putting finger to keyboard.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

All the best Grant. I hope you follow your Dad's advice!

cherylb said...

Grant - I hope your Dad will RIP and that you will now be able to move on. Thinking of you and your family.....

Maybe he and Jack are bullshitting somewhere.....

hydr0l1c5 said...

Grant, I live in Maple Ridge and believe it or not, I was with you on Sunday, in your car. I was remeniscing of my youth as a teenager working in Kokish, BC. A logging camp that has long since passed away, like our fathers. I was lost in thought about those who I loved that have passed also. Considering everything, Jack Layton is in good company.
Thanks for sharing, Grant.
Mike B. Maple Ridge, BC

Anonymous said...

Im still wiping away tears, that was a beautiful tribute to your Dad thanks for sharing that, get some rest Grant you are a good son

Anonymous said...

From my family to your`s, our sincere condolences .

Walter v E

cherylb said...

hydr0l1c5 - Mike B. My husband and his family lived in Kokish as well, and we now live in Maple Ridge. I'm sure you know each other.... Grant, would it be possible to connect us?

Grant G said...

Yes I can connect you two...If either Mike B or you Cherylb leave me your emails in comments(I won`t publish)...

And I will email one of you with the others email...

Thank you friends...Now let`s take out some effing Liberals

Cheers

Danneau said...

We scattered my mother's ashes in her garden yesterday, the first time all the brothers and sisters have been together in a couple of decades. Some residual sadness, but mostly joy that we got to enjoy so much of her company. We are all "orphaned" now, but old enough to think about our own demise, knowing that Hank and Maggie did well by us all, especially in the intellectual and spiritual departments. The settlement of the estate seemed the least of concerns, but even that has gone smoothly with a great deal of consensus and collaboration. My thoughts are with you, and with Neil as we live through some tough days.

Gary E said...

Sorry to hear about your dad my friend. I know how close you were just from your writings. Although the loss of a parent is very hard it is also a part of our lives. My thoughts go out to you and your family today. Take care Grant and remember the good times.

ps. my ISP provider is down so I am writing this from the Library in 100 Mile House. Not sure when things will be back up at this point.

Bill said...

Hey Grant, very sorry to read the sad news of your fathers passing. My condolences to you and your family. You were very lucky to have had such a wonderful, loving father and I know he will be in your heart always and forever.

Anonymous said...

Grant, Sorry for the loss of your Father. In your past writings you shared your love of fishing with your Father and those memories will last a lifetime I'm sure. Take care of yourself and remain strong. My condolences to all your family members at this time of grieving. Take care my friend.

Grant G said...

Cherylb..As soon as Mike B responds I will connect you..

Thanks Gary E..You are a good friend..

Walter, that means alot coming from you, I know you care for your elderly mom, you are a good man..

Don F, always good to hear from you,

Royce, Bill, Danneau, Julie and Jean, your hearts are golden, thank you

Can you feel it friends, Christmas eve, HST results are in....And guess what, we won...

Mom is talking politics, she hates BC Liberals, even the press appears to be noticing the Liberal incompatence/corruption, BC ferries interest payments to German banks, BC Hydro in full IPP revolt, wealth transfers will be halted, me has a feeling more BC Liberals are heading overseas...

New post soon...

Cheers Eyes Wide Open

Anonymous said...

Grant so sorry about the passing of your
Dad.Your writting about him brought me to tears.
I wish I knew you more!

We are also in the throws of looking after our mum in her final days. Sometimes it's a blessing when they are finally out of their pain.

Lovely to see you back on line, one more day and
there will be big celebrations (I hope).

Was looking thru the internet last night and came across Harper and Campbell walking together like twins. They both looked such a miserable couple.

Take care and condolences to your mum & family.

Qualicum Beach Reader

Evil Eye said...

Condolences to you and your family with the passing of your father.

I am with the same position with my mother, who also suffers from dementia and I know how hard a struggle it must be.

Leah said...

My sincerest condolences Grant...the death of my Mom after 7 years of cancer hell still has me torn between being thankful she's no longer in pain - and wishing she was here just one more day so I could spend it at her feet making sure she knows just how much I love her. It's hard at times. But the new star in the sky...that's her. I'll be watching for another new arrival up there...and call that one Grant's Dad. Heartfelt hugs and good thoughts are sent your way always.

Grant G said...

Thanks Leah...I was hoping you had comforting words, you are a special lady and....

And I think I need another cry.

Thank You