I had a business trip that took me to Orlando for a few days recently, so I was able to spend some more time with my father. For the most part, he has settled into his life as a single man, though I would not consider him to be the swinging bachelor type. (Or maybe he has a secret life that he keeps well hidden!) He's got a couple of regular golf games each week, a small faith group and he goes to the gym regularly.
Surprisingly, my father has become a very good cook. We had a nice pork loin one evening and a pan fried fish with Bernaise sauce the next. Both were accomanied by vegetables, potatoes or rice and a fancy spinach salad with walnuts and mandarin orange slices. Sure beats my typical bachelor meal: chilli from a can and diet root beer.
I bought my father a digital photo frame for Christmas, so I provided the onsite technical support necessary to install photos. I selected family photos from last couple of years including pictures of kids, grand kids, and the last couple of Christmases. We went through the photos together to make sure he'd be comfortable with them. I didn't want to trigger painful memories with reminders of my mother's decline in health.
The evenings get a bit quiet for my father and I know he misses my mother greatly. Most of the time he is pretty even-keeled, but he gets peeved once in a while dealing with some of the paper work and bureacracy around my mom's death. Apparently it's much easier to combine brokerage accounts or cancel routine services when you're alive than when you're dead. Who knew? He gets pretty broken up at mass once in a while. It's easy for emotions to get bottled up and then they just leak out at unexpected times.
I can usually keep things together pretty well myself, but everything caught up with me on the drive to Orlando airport for my flight back home. I got up before sunrise to make coffee and hit the road early. I've driven the road to the airport a dozen times in the last year alone. Somehow driving the road by myself at that early hour reminded me of the finality of things. This was the first time I'd been to Orlando and not talked with my mom. She was gone and there was nothing I could tell her or share with her. And then a song came on the radio called "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star from a few years back and I totally lost it. Next thing you know, I've missed my exit and I'm driving miles out of my way, tears in my eyes as the sun comes up.
The song has a haunting, love-torn sound to it. Hope Sandoval's longing voice coupled with a lonesome slide guitar creates a sound as bleak as a dustbowl. Or at least, that's how it felt to me.
I want to hold the hand inside you
I want to take the breath that's true
I look to you and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth
You live your life you go in shadows
You'll come apart and you'll go black
Some kind of night into your darkness
Colours your eyes with what's not there
Fade into you
Strange you never knew...
You can use the links below to hear the song or watch the video.