Wednesday, September 17, 2014

9/17/14 Something Different. Life Is A Beach or Me and Dad. Not a Beach Report.

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of

Life is a beach.  That is what they say. 

I don't know what that means, but as I think about it, in some ways it seems to be true.

A beach constantly changes, and so does life.  That is one way that saying is true.

Oh does life change!   Completely upside down and backwards.  It changes.

My dad grew up without a father.  His father disappeared before he was old enough to know it.  And his mother was not much more than a child herself. 

Dad grew up on the streets.  Good thing he was tough.  Or was that what made him so tough?   It had to be both.

He taught me a lot, even when neither of us realized it.

He was there.  He gave me more than he had.  His father wasn't there.

He wasn't gentle.   He didn't know how to be.  He was a fighter.  That is all he knew how to be.  That is the only choice he had.

But he made sure I had what he didn't.   I had someone to rely upon, as sure as the sun would rise and set.  That is something I would never question.  It was just always there.

He was caring but didn't know how to express it.  Yet he did express it - like a rock.  It didn't look like or sound like caring.  It wasn't easy to see the caring, but it was always there. 

It was never in words.  He was no Mr. Rogers.   Few words.  Always tough.  Always strong.  Never wavering.  Never yielding.  Something you could always rely on.   Anyone that knew him knew who to call on when they were in a pinch and needed someone who could handle the situation.

Years and years and years went by.  I only knew the rock.   Then he got dementia.

He grew up in town, but later moved out in the country a bit, where a relative let him, his mother and a couple other children live in a small shack. 

As a child he would run four miles to town. And I do mean ran. He always pushed himself to the max.  He had no other transportation and went into town to do any work he could find. 

Eventually he played high school football one season and caught the attention of a couple of big time college scouts but dropped out of school as soon as football season was over because he was working nights at a glass factory and couldn't keep going to school.

He thought he could overcome anything if he went at it hard enough.  It seemed to me that he could.

This time he couldn't.  He lost his ability to communicate. 

I started out saying life is a beach.  In some ways it isn't.  But it does change.

My mother had become the strong one.  She helped my dad do every little thing.

One day my dad when I was visiting my dad got upset at something.  I don't know what.  He couldn't really tell you.  He decided to run away.

He went out the front door, and I saw him trying to run down the road.  He was moving slowly and with a limp.   He only got a short distance before he stumbled and fell.  I caught up with him.  

His glasses were off one ear.   I noticed a spot of blood on his face.

The man I always relied on fell in a ditch.  I could only think of the boy that I only knew as a man. 

In his mind he might have been a boy again, running like he always did, but his body wasn't able now.

I reached down to pick him up.  He never took help.  He always gave it.  He wouldn't take my hand.

He got up.  I took his hand and walked him back to the house. 

I held the hand that I previously knew only as strong.  I don't know that I ever held it before.

I couldn't help think of how he ran as a child.  He ran and ran and ran to run away from the parts of his childhood that he didn't like. 

In my mind, I could see that strapping boy running, but through my eyes I saw something else. 

He no longer had the strength that he relied on almost all of his life - neither of body or mind. 
He no longer had what he always relied on, and neither did I.  It was the hardest day of my life.

Now I had to be the one.  That was new and strange territory for me.

That was six years ago now.  Now I take care of mom.  She relied on dad too, even more than I.  I do my best, but I can't replace him.  It's foolish to even think of it that way, but I do the best I can.

I said that life is a beach, and in at least one way that is true.  Life does change.

I know that is not what you were looking for today, but for those of you who are always wondering who I am, now you know a little something about that.

I might get a regular beach report posted later.  Don't know.

Happy hunting,