My dad is 82 and lives with us. Not because he needs to, but because he is a social creature. Because it is cheaper to share bills when you are on a fixed income. As I jot this, I can hear him talking to himself down the hall, “Damn zipper!” He is in the laundry room getting ready for his morning walk down to the mailbox for the newspaper. It’s about a quarter mile round trip. He sometimes struggles with the zipper on his heavy jacket. I can get down and see that it is stuck on the fabric, he can’t see it over his belly.
When he is gone someday, I will miss hearing him talk to himself about his zipper, about his “damn computer” not doing what he thinks it should. I will miss hearing the obnoxious ear worm song that plays while he is playing his second chance on his lottery ticket.
Whenever I ask him if he wants to run errands, his typical reply is “sure! Why not. Too wet to plow, rain hurts the rhubarb.” I have no idea why he says that, he just does. I’ll miss that.
If he is going out to run errands without me, he always asks if I need anything from outside. My response is “a winning lottery ticket”.
His love language is acts of service. Unloading the groceries, washing the dishes (he washes, I dry and put away), mowing lawns, and so much more. He loves to crochet too. He crochets and donates afghans to Relay For Life which he has supported since my mother died of lung cancer. He has crocheted a baby Afghan for every grandchild (7) and every great grandchild (9) to date. And then he teases our daughter about wanting a tenth great grand. He always has a piece he works on when he watches TV. This is why I could find him dead in his tv chair with a half crocheted Afghan in his lap, see my previous post. I will miss all these things.
The cards that he mails to me, even though we live together, the cough from down the hall that lets me know he is still alive. The daily morning cup of green tea, that is prepared the evening before. The tea bag envelope in the coffee cup with a spoon, ready to open and pour when he wakes. The happiness, and touch of pride as he shares that he if finally making friends with the new cat. The teary eyes he gets when he talks about all his grands and great grands. All of these things I will miss.
And so, until the day that he leaves this earth behind, I will take his arm when we walk to slow me down to his ever slowing pace. I will treasure the sounds of my father, and his company throughout the days. And I will file away all the little things that make him so special to me, until, one day, those memories will be all I have left.