It was one of those chairs that rises with the switch of a button and is used to help those who struggle to get in and out of chairs to be more independent. It was a chair that the kids loved to play with. It was a chair that witnessed a lot of history. It was Dad’s chair.
Mom didn’t want it at first because it represented the “next step” towards aging – it was something that would force her to admit her husband was not capable of the things he was once capable of doing. Dad was always physically fit and active. He was the provider, the handyman, the entertainer. The chair, to Mom, signified this loss. And who knows, maybe she was next?
As it turned out – the chair did give Dad a lot of independence. And it gave Dad “command” of the house as the house was then designed around the chair. Photos were placed so they could be seen from there, a light was hung above the chair to allow him to read with proper lighting, and table space was arranged to allow a way clear and free for Dad to travel “to” the chair without incident.
From the chair, Dad could survey the entire room. With the assistance of the mirrors – of which there were many in the condominium – Dad could check out Kempenfelt Bay, he could see who was coming in through the front door, and he could keep his eye on Mom as she worked her magic in the kitchen.
By the chair, Dad would park his walker and the walker became a place where guests and care-givers could get a little closer to him for a more intimate moment. Dad and I could father – daughter sitting in this way – he in his chair and I in his walker. The Dancing Nannies would help him with an evening pudding and pills when they sat side-by-side. Friends would share a joke or two when they sat side-by-side.
The chair came to represent Dad. “Do you want to go to the table, Bill, or to your pink chair?” was the question so often asked of him. His answer set the tone for the day. If he chose the chair we knew that he was ready to chat or to read. If he chose the chair, we knew it was a time to relax with a glass of wine, or maybe do a crossword.
When Dad passed away, we talked to the chair. We poured a glass of wine and it sat beside the chair – we all came to the chair to tap our glasses to his as though our lives depended on that tap. We sat in the chair and “felt” that he was there in the room again. We felt part of him in that chair. He was the fabric… even though it was pink.
Yesterday, the chair was lifted and taken away so that it could help someone else gain their independence the way it had with Dad. It happened quickly and quietly. It slipped away without incident much the way Dad himself had done. It left an impression on the carpet much the way Dad himself had done in our hearts. It’s absence was noted much the way Dad’s absence continues to be noted.
La Chaise Rose was more like La Vie en Rose for what it had come to represent.
Just as the chair left, an image of Dad sitting in the chair appeared on the digital photo frame and one of the movers remarked on the image. “Is that your Dad?”, he asked.
“That’s my Dad.” I replied. “And that’s his pink chair”.
And with the push of a button – the elevator doors opened, the chair was carried inside, and the doors closed.
I rushed back into the condo and immediately put Mom’s favorite blue velvet chair in the place once occupied by the pink chair. The blue chair was the one that Dad had sat in when he was more mobile. It was the one that had been relinquished to the back bedroom when there was no where else to put it. Will that blue chair be true to “the spot”. It has some pretty big shoes to fill, to compete with that pink chair. But I guess we need to give it a chance.
TTFN, Pink Chair