La Chaise Rose – The Pink Chair

Where do I begin to tell the story of the pink chair?

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

Categories: Family and Friends, Life After Dad, Life's Lessons | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “La Chaise Rose – The Pink Chair

  1. Your father had a precious, sweet smile…This photo of him in his pink chair makes me smile!

  2. Beautifully written. My dad had a chair too. It was not as fancy as Mr. Duff’s chair. I wonder what happened to it. It was probably taken by my sister and then burnt in the fire she had. Like the rest of our important stuff, like bonds, family history, genealogy, the family bibles, their jewelry. So many memories lost in one tragic event. Wiped out. Thank goodness the letters and our family pictures were not there.


    • Fires can be devastating. I’m so sorry. My Dad lost all of his stuff when his house went up in fire when he was a kid. He always talked about his buffalo nickel collection. Funny about those chairs. I don’t have one … do you? Is this a lost tradition – or is it just we get so busy… I don’t know. And what a miracle that you have the letters. There is SO much wonderful history for you there. THanks for the compliments on this story…
      TTFN to you too!

  3. Martin Langmuir

    After Toni and I persuaded Paula that the chair would match the carpet and furniture
    I was so pleased when she finally relented that it was time for Bill to borrow the ‘Pink Chair’ and never imagined that it would gain this notoriety and add to its history of helping others.
    The ‘Pink Chair’ was acquired for my late wife Cathie when she had cancer 15 years ago. I kept the chair as I knew it could help others some day. Since then it has helped a friend after a hip replacement, another after a heart attack and broken ankle and a friends grandmother in her golden years. It has always come home to wait to help again.
    It was a always good feeling to come to visit Bill and share a glass of ‘Body Builder’ sitting there sharing stories, with a smile on his face for so many years.
    The chair has now moved on to help Toni’s aunt who is recovering from a broken hip at 88.


    Martin & Toni

    • Oh, my goodness – that chair should be dubbed, “Saint Pink Chair”. Grin

      Thank-you, Martin, for you kind words and insight.

  4. Robert Smith


    I came upon your blog today in trying to internet research about a small painting of Birch Trees hanging in my mother-in-laws’ home. The painting was done by Jacqueline D. Algee of Ottawa Canada.

    You reference her in your posting of August 2nd and mention a Birch Tree painting your mother had on the wall across from the chair she would sit in. You also state that Ms. Algee was a friend of your parents.

    Can you tell me anything more about this wonderful artist?

    Buffalo, New York

    • Oh, goodness – I can tell you that I’ve known her all my life – and she is still living in Ottawa – and so much more… how wonderful to meet you!!!!!! I can even give you her contact information if you like. Wow.

  5. chicas

    Say “thanks” you for your mother and father that they gave you the planet

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