Monday, September 1, 2008

Something in my eye? (lens?)

I went to the nursing home last Thursday, to watch my mother play the piano and entertain the residents and faculty. She does this every Thursday, week after week, and has done it for almost a year now. My father was a patient of this nursing home for nearly ten years, so to all of us in the family, it was a second home of sorts. We spent many hours with my father; each of us separately, one on one time, and then sometimes as a group. We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, bringing cake, ice cream,and presents. On holidays we decorated his room and brought him home made cards and holiday treats. Someone was almost always with him. The day he died, I had been very ill, in bed and not able to visit him. So I had not been back to the nursing home since he had passed, back in February 2007. I had been thinking about going to see my Mom perform off and on for quite awhile, but had put it off, procrastinated, been busy with other things; but last Thursday I found myself, well, without anything else of importance to do. I called her and told her I would be coming up to see her. I had a couple of hours to pass before going, so I took a drive over to Dowsers Beach, where my father used to take my brother and I to fish. I have fished a few times from the jetty over the last couple of years and enjoy seeing the sunsets over the little bay. I walked the length of the jetty and then around the bend to the swimming beach, picking up shells and noting that there were some small jellies scattered about at the shoreline. It was a beautifully clear day, the hint of fall in the breeze offshore. I took some photo's with my cell phone camera, as I always do... sending a couple to my daughter who is away at college. When it was time to head out, I brushed off the sand from my feet and carefully placed the shells I had collected into the pail I keep in the truck. When I arrived at the nursing home, I went directly up to the third floor activity room where I found my mother already playing to a room full of patients. I sat down in a nearby chair and just moments later, much to my surprise, started crying. I think that it was the combination of being back in that place, seeing my mother so totally wrapped up in sharing herself with everyone, my father no longer there in the corner listening, the music (old love songs from the 40's & 50's), the patients, some singing along, looking old and afraid, but brave in the face of what we all must face.... our mortality. It was just too much, I had to leave the room in search of tissues. I did manage to go back and listen, but only for a moment before the tears started again. I was embarrassed, and couldn't believe I wasn't able to control my emotions.... after all I work at a 911 call center for cripes sake! I stood just outside the door, looking in, snapped a couple of pictures and then quietly escaped to the elevator. I couldn't just leave, without saying good bye to my mother so I waited outside on a bench underneath the trees, a place we had all sat at one time or another, with my father.There was a lovely breeze, and after awhile I got a grip on my emotions. I noticed the gate to the back of the Manor was open. The Manor was where my father had first been placed, but closed a year or so after he was there. I took a quick look at the building, and as most abandoned buildings do, it had started to deteriorate. I'm not sure why, but I took a couple of pictures. I decided to go back in to help my mother carry her things to her car. We talked and after a good chat, parted ways. The pictures below are the ones that I took that day. I had taken several pictures at Dowsers Beach prior to the ones of area where we fished from. They were all fine. The pictures I took after that day were all fine.

What do you think? Something on the lens?


  1. What do you think? Something on the lens?

    Who's to say? I can say this, though: I feel the presence of both my father and mother at the strangest times... always unexpected, but always comforting in an inexplicable way. FWIW.

    Great post, Alison. And know that you are NOT alone. I have trouble with the water-works from time to time, too. And it's arguably worse for me, being male... with all the attendant macho baggage.

  2. Thank you for sharing this intimate story with us. I think it was good for you to finally go to where you last saw your father, but try to let go of the fact that you weren't there when he died. It sounds like you spent enough time with him before he died. My mother was visiting us in Florida when her mother died in California. It tore her apart that she wasn't with her. My mother was the one who was closest to my grandmother, so I don't know why it happened that way. It wasn't fair to my mother, but we don't have control over things like that. That's why it is so important to let our loved ones know how much me love them everyday!
    p.s. as to the lens...In Florida, since it's so humid, when I go from an air conditioned office to outside to take a picture, my lens fogs up for awhile. Maybe you had a fogged up lens.

  3. Tears come at the strangest times. I was so strong at the time of my dad's death - maybe because it was necessary. But now, I can see a picture of him, or something will remind me of him, and tears will flow.

    I love it that your mom plays the piano for the resthome.

  4. Great post Lady, thanks for sharing. Who knows, but someone was looking over your shoulder...

  5. Great story. It brought a tear to my eye.

  6. Wonderful post!!! Thank you for sharing.. -Dispatcher

    Oh and we're stopping through Maine next week on our travels.. to take a look at your beautiful state! Can you order us some rain and cooler weather?

  7. I think...
    your father was glad that you came to visit.