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Archive for June, 2010

Yesterday was the anniversary of D-day. We had a crashing end to Rodgers’ art show, in the pouring rain as we tore down. It was a successful show on all accounts so it helped us deal with the torrential rain and getting thoroughly wet. Working at art shows keeps us flexible since the variables of weather and customer whims keep us on our toes. Setting up and tearing down will keep you nimble too as it’s quite a workout!

As I was taking down the infrastructure that we use to hang Rodgers’ paintings, including the little hooks, I thought of dad. The last time he and mom visited us in 2006, he came down with us on the last day of the Littleton art show, and so wanted to help us with tear down. He was quite weak, but he could still walk, although slowly and unbalanced at best. We were creative as we gave him things to do, so he could help us without hurting himself. He took down the picture hanger rods and hooks and was so happy to be helping, and knew he was helping. He put away all the price tags. We had the director’s chair set up for dad, so he could sit as he put away the price tags, stacked the picture hangers and put the picture hooks in their box. He stacked the picture hangers all so neatly before putting them away. He supervised us with such warmth and care as he noticed things we might forget as he had keen eyesight and attention to detail. We were so careful not to hurt him as we tore down around him. It’s easy for a panel to fall the wrong way, and so many other things. We were glad to be spared of any accidents and dad left with a smile on his face that he had been useful, since so often I don’t think he felt like he was in his later years. During the rest of their visit I gave him things to do, so he would feel helpful since that was important to him.

I have a feeling it’s hard to be old. Dad was 87 then and he realized how limited he was in what he could do physically, yet was still so aware that he wanted to be helpful. Dad always had such good intentions, right up until he died. I’ll never forget the hospice doctor’s reaction when they first met and he took her hand, kissed it and said he loved her, less than a week before he died. At this point he had stopped eating. She was expecting twins, and was so shocked by his ability to interact since so many who are dying have lost the ability to interact, never mind warmly. She didn’t have great words to describe her surprise, but her astonished, caring look said it all.

Today is another “first” since dad’s death: it is mom and his 63rd wedding anniversary and I’m sure he is staring down from heaven at his bride! Oh how he loved her right up to the end of his life. On his last night, he was almost too weak to sleep since his body could hardly stay in position. But when he heard his bride snore in the bed next to him, he fell right asleep. I sat up next to dad that night since we didn’t want him to be alone in case he died during the night. I was grateful he slept for a few peaceful hours. It was a testament to their strong bond since he was out of words by then, and just slept.

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