Sunday, December 28, 2008

Looking for Dad

This is my mom and dad. They are looking out over Grand Canyon, I think. (Only they are looking back at the camera.) I don't think I was with them. I think my sister and I saw the Grand Canyon, alone, perhaps this same summer. Not really sure, however. I think my dad is around fifty here, maybe.

This morning I got up a little late, around eight. I made my morning call to him. No answer. Tried again a few times. No answer.

My dad has a Lifeline button. I shouldn't worry. Maybe someone took him to early church service. He doesn't have a car because, if you are a close reader, his was totaled a couple of weeks ago.

One can't help worrying even though one knows it's nothing. One knows there is a 99.9% chance someone drove him to church. Still.

FFP says we should go out there and check. We do. We don't rush but we get dressed and drive out there. He isn't home, of course. His Sunday paper is arrayed around his chair. He hadn't written today's date on his drug list in the bathroom, but, yes, obviously he has gotten a ride and gone to church. In fact, maybe he has the date wrong and did write in there.

We went to Waterloo Ice House on Burnet and had breakfast. In order to make use of having gotten the car out, we called FFP's mom and got a grocery list and went to the store and got here some stuff and bought bananas, coffee, yogurt and laundry soap for ourselves.

I knew I could have ignored not getting to talk to him this morning, but we are a little paranoid about that after the 2006 death of one of our friends after she lay alone in her house for days after a massive stroke. We take our charge to check up on people seriously now.

I think the picture is funny with Dad barely captured by whoever took the picture. Dad was always disappearing. He worked weird hours and then, when he retired, piddled with a flea market stand and helping some guy who bought and sold cars. My whole life as a youngster, my mom was wondering where Dad was. He'd go off with friends on some errand after work. Maybe he was off drinking or just helping fix a car. Often he was doing a favor for a friend. But he never felt obligated to let folks know where he was, particularly, and it made my mother crazy. And it bugged us if we were hoping he'd come home for some reason. (He always seemed to take a shift at the hospital where he was an attendant on Christmas Day and we'd have to wait until he came home to open presents.) Now I have to worry about him, but he can't get far away. I have to be more responsible than he sometimes was and remember his appointments and see that he gets what he needs. He still wants to be the independent, capable middle-aged man in this picture. But he is not. Indeed, I'm about fifteen years older than my mother was in this picture if I'm not mistaken. In ways he is more responsible than when he was younger perhaps because he has to be.

Just before posting this I looked to see what the Holidailies writing prompt was. "Never mind your chronological age: how old do you feel?" Ah, yes. Am I sixty? Am I sixteen? Am I drug up (or it that down) to the parental I really feel like ninety? Hard to say. Maybe I should make a New Year's Resolution to feel younger.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I'm always reminded about a former employee of mine--very responsible, enthusiastic, elderly man who had had to return to work because his pension got eaten up by the rise in the cost of living. When he didn't come to work one day, I sent a supervisor out to see what was wrong. She found him, but it was too late to help him.

I guess that's one reason for not living alone....