Last week, Gary and I had dinner with my dad, my stepmom, my older brother, his wife and their 2 children. This was a ‘goodbye’ dinner of sorts before Gary and I were to depart to Pensacola, Florida; the next location for my next surgery and treatment I will receive for my cancer. At that dinner, I told them I would see them again and that my plan was to be in West Texas for Thanksgiving to spend that holiday with them and the rest of the family. This is the usual location my family meets to celebrate this holiday. I said to them with not knowing what will take place in the next couple of months, my plan could change, but at this point in time, I want to be there in West Texas come November.
I sat next to my dad, who is dealing with Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments.
His body is frail, his body is a shell that is weathered and fragile; that is non recognizable and not the dad I have memories of when growing up and even in these most recent years. The body is weathering and the Parkinson’s has become strong to the point his voice at times is muffed, and just a noise that at times is unrecognizable in the words that are being spoken.
That dinner sitting next to my dad, his words were detectable, though very soft. My ear was in his face trying to hear him, with soft words and his hand on my shoulder I heard him say “If you need anything, I am here.” I see this fragile man, who I believe is coming near to the end of his life and he is supporting me, comforting me and he is being here for me and this I am thankful for.
The relationship we have now is dramatically different from years past when we were both younger. If you are not familiar with our relationship, you are welcome to read these posts: ‘My Dad Who Taught Me Plenty‘, ‘I understand the words ‘I love you’‘, ‘Anger Towards My Dad‘, ‘A Letter From Dad‘, and ‘not many handshakes going on these days.‘.
Later after dinner I was back home and my stepmom sent me a couple of photos she had taken earlier that evening of my dad, my older brother and myself. It was not until I viewed those pictures, that I saw my dad in a different way. His body, his shell is deteriorating; as if it is already decaying, already having life drained from it. It saddens me to see him in this state, because I know he will be gone from this world soon.
But, I also find comfort in knowing we have both changed and we both understand our relationship and love each other for who we are.
My dad’s shell as a younger man was hardened with no emotions displayed; and now that shell is fragile and worn; but now it is full of love.