Friday, April 24, 2015

Clean Break

After seven solid years, a period of time that we set aside in our lives for "being available" and for retiring from what we were doing before, we're getting ready to move again.  The property selection and purchase have taken a lot of my time and taken me away from what I like best to do in the mornings, write.  But, there's always a story or a word in my mind.  I'm sure that the people who tell me that they "can't" write have the same thing going on, it's just that they publish their thoughts before writing them down, by speaking them out loud.  Once you've published, it simply isn't going to work the same way.  So, I keep the thoughts, juggle them around in my own brain, and hopefully, find myself with my fingers on the keyboard, ready to bring it all on.  While I refer to myself as a person who only writes essays and opinions, I somehow think I'm more of a memoirist in hiding.  So much of what I write is based upon what I am experiencing or have experienced and oftentimes, I use the tool to make more sense of it all or as my personal documentary.

This morning, my brain received another prompt.  As I waltzed around my living room with my dance partner, the dust mop, the words "clean break" broke through.  I was unusually happy to have received such a prompt and that I had the time to play with it, to wonder why those words had come to me.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about Proprioceptive Writing and for those who read that and still do not understand it, this is a classic example.  In processing the words, I ask myself what do I mean by them and where do they fit into a bigger picture or a future write.  I'm delighted to think that I have acquired the skill and that I can put it to good use.  That far surpasses my experiences in trying to learn Algebra or how to string pearls.

The day after we had the offer on our condo accepted, I visited with my father and during our conversation, I asked if I might take Mom's set of pots and pans on to the new home.  A few years ago, when she was feeling well, she bought a nice set and now, they sit in the kitchen cabinets untouched.  I figured it was a reasonable request, one made to a man who eats frozen dinners exclusively.  He said "I'll have to think about it" and my heart sank.  I became angry and bitter about the answer.  After all, I was there, having coffee with him, coffee that I brought, after doing his grocery shopping for the week, a chore I have done for the past three years without failure.  I politely replied that it was okay and vowed to not ask again.  The following week, after grocery shopping, we sat down to coffee again and now it was his turn to bring it up.  "When are you moving?" was the question.  I replied and then, "I don't want you to take anything from the kitchen".  I was not surprised but in an instant I got the picture.  It was a total epiphany in one tiny slice of time. And as I thought, a bolt of lightning went through my head and the words "when we die, we understand everything" appeared.  No, I wasn't dying, but all of a sudden.......I understood.  "Okay, Dad, I get it.  You want to leave everything just as it was when Mom was here, don't you?" He nodded and seemed relieved that his rejection of my idea was not going to be met with an emotion.  "It's fine. I think it is very sweet of you and I totally respect that". And then, I thought of the coffee pot story, one to which I had attached so much sentiment.  Not long after Mom died, I asked for the large electric pot to replace a broken one at our house. Why would he ever have need for a ten-cup pot? Instead, he told me to use his credit card and buy myself a new one. I seriously mistook the gesture for one in which he might have recognized all the favors done and thought it nice to have a new coffee pot in return. Alas, I was wrong, I understand that now.

I'm not Mom.  I don't want to be Mom. I look a lot like Mom but I'm Lynn and every time I show up, I bring a vision with me. Mom. Granted, some people who lose people they have loved, are happy to have carbon copies who are still alive.  My Mom was that good, that loved, that irreplaceable, my father's One-And-Only, and I'm a constant reminder of what he no longer has.  Sure, it's hard for him but think about how incredibly difficult it is for me. He probably would be happier were I to open the door and throw his groceries in.  He sits in his sun-room with me, drinks coffee, only to be polite or to have the minimum of social contact required.  He does not enjoy it nor do I.  We both do what we have to do and I'm not always certain that what we do is good for either of us.  He needs to really feel her loss, to really get it that she is not there and never will be. That she will not be clanking pots and pans around.  He still needs to grieve.

In orthopedics you learn that there are two basic types of bone fractures, simple and compound, that one is less complicated than the other and heals quickly. A simple fracture in totally internal, along clean lines. A compound or Greenstick fracture is one in which the bone actually bends, sometimes penetrating to the outside, and they are nasty little fellows.  They take more time to heal, cause more pain and more complications but eventually, they do heal, scarring is very likely to occur, and the affected limb might look different. My father has suffered a massive compound fracture.

I need a clean break.

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