Monday, April 9, 2012

a handbreadth


I drove home alone with my thoughts last Thursday.
Winding through Kentucky and across the Ohio River, I didn't listen to much music as I typically do.
Seven hours, just me and my thoughts.

I was coming home from visiting my dad.
There is still laughter and recognition and love. And his wittiness.
But in the two days I spent with my father, I was sucked into the vortex of his increasingly confused mind.

How he wants to be engaged in life and work.
He plans to buy a horse so my sister (age 51) will have an after-school project.
He sees parades of bugs on the ceiling.
He wants to buy back the property he farmed 60 years ago.
"I know how to run a farm," he said.
He wondered aloud why I didn't bring my babies, my boys, with me.
I am not even sure he differentiates my deceased mother from my step-mother.

When I left Dad on Wednesday evening, he was curled on his bed,
eyes locked on me and an opaque-skinned hand cupped in mine.
I asked him if he loves Jesus. He nodded.
I told him to love others like Jesus. Plain and simple.

His eyes, his hands, they aren't my father's.
After 87 years, they are aged and delicate.
And they serve to stir up gritty emotions in me of the loss that is sure to come.
That in a sense has already come.

"He's in a good place, the right place," people reassure me.
And he is.
But I'm not.

Then I remember, such is life on earth.
The tighter my grip on this life, the less I will look forward to the next one.

I am here for you now, Dad.
But we'll always be together.

You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man's life is but a breath.
Psalm 39:5

2 comments:

Dan said...

Thanks for this insight and words, they are moving.

Diana said...

Your words are so very familiar because I have been where you are now. My thoughts are with you, and I wish you peace....Diana