Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Dad Never Forgot Mom, Even with Alzheimer's

In the time before my dad passed away, he said he was "tired and going home." Often he wouldn't remember where home was and asked where Mom was living, to reassure himself that he had it right in his head.

When Dad said he was going home, did he mean home where Mom lives, or did he mean Home, going through the pearly gates? You know, I don't think it really matters or makes any difference.

My wife has been traveling for a week, visiting family, and I have been doing a good job of being efficient at work, of eating well and keeping the house clean, of generally keeping it together. Yet behind that checklist efficiency is a sense of just waiting, of biding time until we are together again. Then I'll really start living again.

I guess that's what marriage means, a unity. True, physical proximity shouldn't be absolutely necessary, but the whole idea of marriage, it seems to be, has something to do with physical proximity. Not being together makes this more clear to me. We learn this as kids. As we grow older, we don't buy a winter coat and then leave it on the hanger when we go outside in January. There's a certain congruity.

The importance of establishing a sense of unity is central to us all. I think it's why so many snapshots are taken--a desire to establish some enduring connection with geography, people, and experience. It's why Dorothy clicked her red shoes together and said, "There's no place like home." It's why Vladimir and Estragon wait and wait for a guy named Godot. It's why when my dad was in the nursing home, his most frequent question was "when am I going home?"

We want to be in that place where we belong, where we are "in the know" and accepted. We don't want to be a stranger . . . especially in a strange land. We want unity. We are conscious atoms with atavistic memories of the Unified Field. My parents were married and together sixty-eight years. That definitely created a gravity well in the fabric of time and space, an attraction, an aching in the bones.

I'm heading to the airport now to bring my wife home. It is altogether fitting and proper that I do this. But, in a larger sense (and thank you, Abe), we will be recollecting our unity, reaffirming our unity, and maybe just enjoying the pedestrian pleasure of being together. Our small universe is expanding, and the infinite universe is collapsing upon itself. If it's not one thing, it's the other, or more likely it's only one thing, individual and cosmic, husband married to wife, duality become One, and pretty darn happy about the whole situation.

Copyright 2014 by Thomas L. Kepler


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