Helping Out Around the House

And so ends another day at home. There’s a strange air of optimism that seems to permeate almost everything. We know what’s coming, but we’re always happy and upbeat. Well, Cathy is anyway — I’m a little too quiet around Dad. Mom tries to avoid him — but I think it’s mostly due to the emotional burden, I think. I certainly can’t blame her for that.

The key in all of this is distraction — to find things to do, people to talk to, or events to watch that will take our minds off what is happening down the hall.

For me, it’s running errands. Usually Mom’s domain, I’ve offered to get out of the house and get groceries, sandwiches from Tim Horton’s, medical supplies — whatever is needed.

We are lucky (in a sense) that the Winter Olympics are on. For Mom, this is significant. She gives herself to the current event and immerses herself in it.

Especially figure skating. That’s been Mom’s favourite sport for almost all of her life, I think. She knows all the moves, she can tell when a skater will make a mistake, and she knows the difference between a lutz and a sal cow (whatever that is). Hughes’ surprise victory tonight was something Mom really needed, I think — it allowed her an outlet for the emotion she’s been keeping in for a long time.

Cathy watches her daytime TV — soaps, Rosie, and Oprah. Around 3:30 or 4:00, Craig drops in and helps entertain. He has the unenviable task of trying to piece the family back together. This is something I cannot do from Calgary. There are times when I wish I never moved away.

Dad just sleeps. Except for a couple of hours today, when Brian Pryce came for a visit, and Aunt Ruth dropped by, Dad slept. Dad had a long chat with Brian — someting he hadn’t done for a while. Brian is Dad’s oldest friend, I can only guess the things they talked about.

My father is still here, although we’re losing him a little bit more each day. He’s on morphine, in an effort to keep the pains in his back at bay. But it means he sleeps a lot, and he has trouble answering questions. The key is comfort, not lucidity.

Hopefully, he is comfortable. It’s hard to tell. Sometimes he’s grumpy, others he’s non-commital, and others he looks on the verge of tears. It’s probably being tired all the time. But he’s led a good life, and has earned the rest.

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