I wanted to write something to celebrate this rather nice human being who happens to be my father. I still need to find the right words.
So I'm taking a short cut and posting something that I wrote in my pre-blogging days, almost two years ago, which is also about my mother.
I am a privileged person, I know.
My father was, for most of his life,
like most people, biped,
walking on his own two feet,
till age and infirmity and a broken hip
added a limb, a walking stick,
made him three- legged,
a ‘tri-ped’, to coin a word.
Tri-ped, he managed, went to the park,
climbed the stairs back to his flat,
restricted, but not housebound…
Just needing that one extra limb.
Until the next hip fracture…..
Uh-oh. The tri-ped needs a walker now-
The four-legged frame becomes a trusty friend
I’m like an insect now, he laughs, I walk with six legs!
And my mother ‘inherits’ his walking stick
Her knees hurt her, she needs support
The height is adjusted to suit her,
Clever stick, adjustable, one size fits all!
Somehow they managed, “tri-ped” and “hexa-ped”
Alone in their flat, until yet another fall
Convinced them that it was time to move,
To live with a child, cede to the vicissitudes of Time…..
Much relief all around, despite occasional maternal yearnings
For lost independence. For me, no more long distance anxiety,
Or emergency flights- a peaceful rhythm established
It may be the back of beyond, but at least we are all
Together, sharing our lives, our joys, our sorrows…
After some years of use, one fine morning,
the walker breaks a leg- (at the ankle, as it were).
That too on the day of a major local festival, followed by
A Sunday- no way of getting a replacement for two days.
Relative immobility is something my father accepts,
But total immobility is frightening, especially when
Nature’s calls have to be answered- not possible
Without the walker.
The poor wounded thing needs emergency repair-
I look at curtain rods and broomsticks and mop handles
Nothing seems right. And then the walking stick appears….
Can you manage without it for a day or two? I ask my mother
I think I can, she replies, As it is I’m always leaving it
Somewhere or the other, asking you to find it for me
so I’m sure I’ll be fine. But how will you fix it?
That is easy- height re-adjusted, handle turned inward, It was symbiotic, and symbolic of my parents’ lives
the walking stick tightly bandaged to the walker
once, twice, tight, safe, secure
a functional entity once more
tried out successfully, a great relief to us all!
one barely mobile, yet sharp of ear and memory, the other
hobbling along, despite aches and pains, needing the other’s guidance
for so many things, both their personalities deeply intertwined,
It was symbiotic, and symbolic of my parents’ lives
each alone relatively helpless, together still a viable entity
life companions, sharing a world of memories no one else could share
peopled with those long gone, a world changed beyond imagination.
Blessing my home with their loving presence, my father’s innate courtesy,
Gentleness and humour, my mother’s amazing faith and good cheer,
Their occasional arguments …..
Let them be together always, I pray, knowing that it’s unlikely…
One has to go first- that is the very nature of life.
Walk slowly on, together!