Tuesday, February 27, 2007


"time is the echo of an axe within a wood"
philip larkin

Part 6
The Conclusion
There were a lot of ways for this story to end, but they all really end the same, don't they?
I think, all things considered, I could not ask for a better one.

The night before Thanksgiving I was up all night , smoking a Turkey on the Grill outside.
I thought about how Mom had died less than a year before, in the room right in there.
I thought about how we brought Grandma home, and put her in the room right in there, and how when she died, we were right there with her. We did not get a call from a nursing home 100 miles away... we were right there.
And as I watched my old friend Orion rising in small hours of the morning, I thought about the last 4 weeks, and what they had brought...

I had quit my job with a large Hotel. I’d had enough. While I served out my 2 weeks notice, my wife had gone to check on my father at a Nursing Home. The VA had had to move him to a Private Facility, and though they still picked up the tab, it put him another 50 miles further from home, and if we were to move him, they no longer would pay.
What my wife found on her visit set her already Red hair ablaze. The care at the VA had been spectacular. Now she found that within 4 weeks of being at this Private facility, he had bedsores and according to her ‘smelled like an outhouse with fecal material and urine on his bed and person”. I want you to know that when the xmrs B’Holes gets her blood up, the shit will hit the fan. I can only imagine the coals that she raked those folks at that Nursing Home over that day.
When she got back to town, we decided on this:
With Mom and Grandma no longer in need of Dads money and Estate, we would move him to the Nursing Home that was 2 blocks from our house. To hell with the expense. We entertained the notion of bringing him all the way home, like we did with Grandma, but that had been hard on us.

So the next week, the day after my last day of work, I drove the 150 miles and removed Dad from the Nursing home from Hell, and brought him home, to the Nursing Home around the corner called the LaDora Lodge.
I had a Van, and laid the seats out in back with him on them. I straddled his chest, taping paper over the windows to keep the sun off him and as I looked down into those Ice blue eyes I said
“Are you ready to go home, Pop?”
His face came alive with knowing.... his eyes flashed and I knew he understood. It had been a long time since he had spoken, and he did not speak now ...instead he gave me his big belly laugh and a tear rolled from the corner of his eye.
After all we had been through I can tell you I would not trade that moment for anything in the World.
We were going home.

We got him to his new home and we visited and had visited everyday for the last two weeks. I also want you to know that the Xmrs B’Holes can talk the ears off a Wooden Indian and she talked to Dad like he had always been right there.
She is like a Superhero to me.

...Its Thanksgiving morning.
I checked the Turkey; lookin’ good.
I checked Orion and he was where he should be at 5:00A.M.
The phone rang. Who could that be?
Its LaDora Lodge.
‘Mr. Bulletholes, I am sorry to be calling at this hour, but I thought you would want to know your father has passed away”

I like to think that Dad stopped by for a two week visit on his way Home.


Anonymous said...

made me cry, laugh, and feel grateful.......for ... all of it.... boy when you put your mind to it, cowboy - you have the GIFT of words.......moving. very.

Barbara said...

Oh, how sad. But how wonderful that you rescued him two weeks before the end. You made it possible for him to exit gracefully. Bravo for you and the ex-MrsBH.

Dave said...

Well, Steve, it seems you are close to wrapping up this story of your father's, and my grandfather's, struggle with Altzheimers. Congrats on telling a not-so-happy story in such a happy way. The story was sad at times but at no point was it ever the slightest bit depressing. Well done! I do regret that I did not meet my grandfather before he went ill. I would have liked to have gone fishing with him.

Mother of Invention said...

Wow! Perfect ending sentence, Steve! Yikes, I've been away for a bit so I missed these posts..I'm so glad I got caught up...so touching and you have carried a huge load as did your wife.

It is funny how clearly you recall all these important moments...really must be etched dee within.

Thanks for the personal story.

Old Lady said...

Perfect, perfect story. Thank you.

steve said...

thanks to all that followed this saga- when I started, i thought 3 parts would do it but the writing became very enjotyable and could not help but include some details- over the years I have used this story to try to help people that may be in grief to see past the grief and to the bigger picture, or at least to illuminate the idea that larger forces are sometimes at work- I like my story-though i will say that to bury as many loved ones inside a year may have affected me in ways I still don't know about....

Mother of Invention said...

Well, you achieved what you wanted and told it perfectly....touching parts tinged with humour.

Annelisa said...

Let me just wipe the tear from my eye! Oh, Steve... I see you are the last person your loved ones wanted to be with before they went... it was like they were holding on for just such a time, and once they'd said their goodbyes they could leave in peace!

And you can tell that xMrs Buttonholes of yours that she's a perfect star too!

Beautifully told story! Thanks for sharing it with us.