We were visiting my father, my kiddos grandfather. I had come down to spend a bit of quiet time with my parents, bringing just my littlest of the crew. Sometimes, all of us was a bit overwhelming for my father and in turn all of us. I had already been down for a few days and my husband and the rest of the bunch were to be joining us later in the day.
It was a sunny day. We awoke just like any other, baby wide eyed ready to party, momma groggily making her way down the stairs to pour some much needed caffeine.
The night had been rough, listening to my father struggle. He struggled, to sleep, he struggled to talk, he struggled to walk, he just plain struggled.
Papa and Nana having been awake for awhile were already gathered around the table. Upon our arrival, without question smiles broke out and morning hugs were shared, just the way it had always been, for as a long as I can remember. Our family loved to gather around the table morning, noon and night. A place to share meals, conversation, and love. Because Papa no longer was able to cook, Nana got right to making breakfast, as you were never to be hungry in his home. As the house filled with the smell of pancakes and eggs we chatted amongst ourselves and discussed where our day might take us. We decided on a nice long walk, our usual walk, the walk we always took with each of our visits to Papa and Nana’s house. Down to a local coffee shop, along the beach, up the hill to Nana and Papa’s we would go.
Zari ate panacakers, my parents favorite to make, as the kids loved them, and nothing made my parents happier than to see someone enjoy their cooking. Papa and I lazily sipped coffee and read the paper, well he did his best and I did my best to share with him what I was reading. He could no longer see well enough to read, he could no longer speak back to me. I smiled and looked into his eyes, wanting him to know it was ok, I understood what he wanted to tell me, but the words could no longer be spoken. It was terribly frustrating for him, it pained me to see him so.
Gathering for our walk was something straight out of a comic book I tell you. My mother and I trying our very hardest to allow him the freedom to be, as he so very much wanted, but knowing that too much could be catastrophic. Barely able to support himself, yet wanting so very much to walk on his own, just like a newly walking toddler, but oh so very much bigger. A fully grown man wanting his independence, fighting for his independence. After much time Papa was settled in his wheelchair, holding onto his cane for his dear life, his hope to walk, his hope to continue on his journey, his hope to heal, his hope to become independent. We strolled for a long while, Zari hopping along beside him, he would ever so gently rub her head in love, his smile said everything he could not. He loved her, he loved all of his grandchildren.
While en route to the coffee shop my husband called to let me know he had left later than he wanted, after spending the morning trying to fix a blown out breaker to our home. My dad overhearing much of our conversation, wanted ever so badly to help me. He wanted to tell me how to fix the breaker. I remember so vividly how bright his eyes shone upon being able to possibly help his daughter. He would smile and use hand gestures to create what he wanted to tell me. We went over and over this silent conversation for a good two hours. I smiling and looking into his eyes as he motioned how I was to tell Jason to go out to the breaker box, flip the breakers, and than wa-la, all would be fixed. Oh my dad, how he loved to help me, how he loved to help everyone.
We shared a coffee over this silent conversation, read a bit more in the local papers, and basked in the sun. How how my father loved the sun.
We continued on our walk, along the beach path, where My mom and I pushed Zari and my father side by side. He again would glance over and gently rub Zari affectionately atop her head of curls. She would smile, I would smile, my mother would smile.
This story shall be continued tomorrow…please check back if you feel so inclined.