Thursday, December 06, 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, 1987, 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 have shown you how the Alzheimers Patient can have extraordinary moments of lucidity in this story so far...and we are about to have another...

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.


Old Lady said...

That's because reality can be so harsh, ripping your heart out and stompping it flat. You are so lucky to have escorted your family out of this life with love and company.

GEWELS said...

What a sad and wonderful ending all at the same time. He came back where he belonged before he could say goodbye.
Oh, if we all only get that chance.

soubriquet said...

A tear there, that story brings.
How is it that people who choose to work as 'care givers' can be so uncaring?
And the ending?
how apt, thanksgiving. A man returning to a safe place, to those who love him and truly care, to have seen, through a break in his clouds your love, that laugh of true happiness, a sanctuary before his last journey.
I see my mother's neighbour going. Smart old lady, Margaret: bright as a button, clever, stylish dresser, singer in a choir, a year ago.
Now I see her, outside, in the dark, wearing a thin sweater in the frosty cold, closing her gate and walking... "Margaret," I ask, "Where are you going?" "I'm going to the post office"
"But Margaret,it's past seven, the Post Office closed two hours ago."
"oh? Did it? Oh dear"
I don't ask why she has no coat, I just say "Let me take your bag, lets go back." She turns meekly.
I see the fear in her. she does not know why she is here. Later, my mother goes in to see her, she is spreading hundreds of old photographs on the floor.
I call her son. He is unconcerned. "I'll see her next weekend."