I’m trying to get this thing started again. Shake the cobwebs off. Get used to writing regularly. There are unfinished drafts in the folder here, attempted posts going back four years, to May of 2015. So it’s not the first time I’ve travelled down this path. I don’t know why it’s harder than it used to be, but I’ve noticed that the less I write, the less clear my memory of things are. The past becomes monochrome and blurred. The old saying that you write it down to remember it now, not later, becomes truer every day.
Nine days ago, I landed in Key West. It was grey and raining. We flew through thunderheads the size of mountains in a small Embraer that bounced and dropped and dipped and everyone, including me, seemed fine with it. Standard weather for a hop to the islands. The guy next to me was asleep before take off and didn’t wake up until the wheels hammered the runway. It’s a short strip in Key West, and pilots have to drop like a rock to stick the landing. The bumpy ride didn’t deter my seat mate’s nap or the chat of the two dudebros seeking advice on bar-hopping from the sleazy asshole who kept referring to the flight attendant as ‘gorgeous’ rather than ‘ma’am’ or the name on her name tag (I don’t remember her name… this is why I need to write more).
I’m here to see my mum and dad. It’s not an easy time, though it’s an easier place to have an uneasy time. The skin on my dad’s face seems slack with the weight he’s lost, and even when he does smile, there’s sadness. We drive up to Miami. I take the morning run, going up, because I find it hard to stay awake when I drive in the afternoon. He’s usually sleeping when we get to the hospice, but we get there at lunchtime so that we can feed him. He wakes up for lunch. His food is pureed now. He failed the swallow test, which should probably be called the chew test, and so cannot have solids. His appetite has been ok the last few weeks, which is a good sign.
Mom sat next to him rested her head on his shoulder. He spoke a few words, indecipherable and incomprehensible. But he smiled his sad smile and met our eyes a few times. Twice a tear rolled down his right cheek. I don’t know what they were for. I kiss his forehead and tell him I love him. Sometimes he stares at the ceiling, sometimes the middle distance in front of him. There’s no way to know where he’s gone, if he’s gone anywhere.
It’s hard to leave, to say goodbye. Whatever of him was with us for a time departed, and we lingered in the hopes that it would return.
The drive back is always quiet. We listened to podcasts and commented on the weather. We stopped for lunch and it was good, but there was someone missing.