31 Day Blog Challenge, #20
A DIFFICULT TIME IN MY LIFE
Struggling to come to terms with the recent passing of my father. I wrote about his illness and rapid decline elsewhere. I will just leave this here:
“You want me to tell you a story about the white rabbit?”
“You want me to tell YOU a story about the white rabbit?”
“You want me to tell you a STORY about the white rabbit?”
“You want ME to tell you a story about the white rabbit?”
“Yes, Daddy, yes!”
“You want me to tell you a story about the white RABBIT?”
“You want me to…”
“Daddy tell me about stones.”
“You want me to tell you a story about stones?”
“Yes, tell me about stones.”
“You don’t want to hear about the white rabbit?”
On the day I came to take him home from the hospital, I found him half in and half out of his bed, his painfully thin legs encased in white pressure stockings that ended in an elasticized frill at mid-thigh, making him look ridiculously like a send-up of a can-can dancer. I covered his bones up, went to get the nurse to help me get him dressed and discharged, and there came a time when he was sitting there in his wheelchair, waiting to leave, and his face crumpled into a grimace that was a pain that went deeper than bone, that went soul-deep, and he cried out, “My God…”
And I, sitting on the rumpled hospital bed beside him, holding his hand in both of my own, reached for the old childhood game, the endless round of me asking for the tale of the white rabbit and him asking me over and over again in dozens of different ways whether I was sure I wanted to hear that story.
“Daddy,” I said to what was left of my father, sitting hunched up there in the wheelchair, “tell me about the white rabbit…”
And he looked at me, out of eyes that were wide and only half- lucid and full of tears, and said, very softly,
“The white rabbit isn’t here any more. He is gone…”
It was then that I finally lost it, sobbing into one hand that was covering my eyes, and he drifted away again, to whatever that place was inside himself where he was hiding his pain.
To where, perhaps, the white rabbit was waiting for him. With the gift of a memory of the young father who played loving games with his five-year-old, of the young man who would never be sick, never falter, never die.
Back, to the days when he was still Don Quixote, and all the windmills could be vanquished by the sheer power of his life’s joy.
But that used to be an idea, a concept, a metaphorical saying. Now, it is this frail figure fighting for breath through the oxygen tubes. And it is in the shadow of this windmill that the daughter of Don Quixote bows her head and lays down the lance. Because some battles can never be won.
Everybody dies. Even he.
Godspeed, Daddy. I will miss you always, but I am glad that your agony is over. The cancer won the battle, as we knew it would, but we won’t let it win the war – and I will remember the beautiful things – I will remember your pride in the things that I did – I will remember your teaching me to dance. Those things will stay with me. Perhaps, in time, i will teach myself to forget the sound of your labored breathing at the end of it all. And now you are at peace.
Hospice House had my father for four days. And those four days counted. And it is over, and he can rest. And perhaps… somewhere… out there.. a great White Rabbit was waiting for him, and held out a sympathetic paw and said, “I am the story you never told. Now come, and walk with me through the sunlight, and you can tell me the story of YOU.”
Why did he build his fairy tale home?
Simon Dale is a family man in Wales who dug out and built his own home—one of the loveliest, warmest, most inviting dwellings you could ever imagine. And it cost him less than $5,000.
He gives two reasons for building the home. The first:
“It’s fun. Living your own life, in your own way is rewarding. Following our dreams keeps our souls alive.”
His second reason is a plea for sustainability, in which he states that “our supplies are dwindling and our planet is in ecological catastrophe“.
Have you ever lied about reading a book?
The Guardian reports on the the top 10 books people claim to have read but haven’t.
What was number one? 1984 by George Orwell