Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day

Dad and Mum outside Extended Care Unit
This is the first Father's Day that I won't have a father. Until last year, when he was living in the Extended Care Unit, I used to take my dad out for breakfast for Father's Day. He would always order the traditional breakfast that was not heart healthy. Most days of the year, he followed the healthy regimen but Father's Day and Christmas were notable exceptions.

Monsieur sang at the Garden Room at the Extended Care Unit yesterday. Friday was Dad's favourite day at ECU because there was entertainment and beer. Dad adapted well to the hospital and learned to enjoy bingo, exercise class and Pub Day. Whenever we visited, we wheeled Dad to the Garden Room where he could look out at the plants and the greenhouse. On warm days, we went outside and explored the garden or went to the waterfall to sit in the sun. Sometimes we ventured as far as Mahoney's Pub to escape the confines of the hospital world. It wasn't so much the food or the beer but the opportunity for Dad to enjoy a more "normal" setting.

Maman brought treats to Dad each time she visited: grapes, cherry tomatoes, sometimes even a drink of vodka and Clamato juice in a thermos. All of these little pleasures made his last year a little more bearable. A B.C. Lions blanket, a painting of wild birds, and a roommate who was an ardent sports fan made the stark and sad hospital room into a home of sorts. From the window, my dad always watched as we drove away and Maman always honked as we left.

The end of life is sad and as we become more feeble, one by one, the little pleasures slip away. The last time that I pushed my dad to Mahoney's Pub, he could barely lift his beer and I fed him a little soup. He lost interest in bingo and was too weak to enjoy the exercise class any longer. Yesterday, when I was talking to my sister, she said that she feels sad whenever she thinks of Dad. We are all so different because when I think of Dad, I think of the tomatoes that he loved grow and to eat, of how he used to bring Maman a yellow rose from the bush in front of their townhouse, and how nobody dared to sit in his chair. Tomorrow, I will miss the "traditional" breakfast but I will think of my dad when I am in church and perhaps I'll go and buy a tomato plant for the balcony.



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