Apartment 1001 re-visited


Looking out onto Kempenfelt Bay, you would never know anything had changed.  The waters were calm.  No Serendipity – the local tourist paddle-boat – yet, but other than that it looked just the same as it did a year ago. 

I turned to my oldest son, Ben, and took a deep breath.  It was time to leave apartment 1001.

They say your life flashes before you just before you leave this earth – snippits of my life with my family flashed before me as I walked through the patio to the dining room where we were always so careful that Dad did not lose his footing while climbing over the step to return to his pink chair after enjoying the night air.  It was a ritual almost – Mom would cling onto his belt buckle (as if she could hold him should he fall) and I would hold on to his walker to secure it from moving forward un-expectantly. 

I walked past where the dining-room table was – where so many meals were served.  Here too, was the place where toasts were made to life, anniversaries, birthdays, births… even commemorations of deaths.  But I heard joy in the voices in my head – I remember the good times, the laughter, and the oh, so delicious food Mom had so lovingly prepared. 

I walked past where Dads pink chair had once been – where David climbed onto the walker in front of Dad so that he could be so much better positioned to hop on Poppas lap and give him a hug.  The pink chair was the focus – the inhabitant (my Dad) was always the centre of attention.  Was he warm enough?  Was he hungry?  Was he able to hear the conversation? Did he tune us out to read? 

I walked past the couch – where we had danced.  I watched my daughter, Katya, twirl and spin and laugh.  I heard David giggle with delight as Nana ordered a steak and baked potato from his make-believe restaurant.  I knew she hoped that his culinary interest would continue and be her own little legacy. I saw Katya standing there, dressed in Nanas black lace dress – hand-made so many years ago.  No one but Katya could fit into that waist line anymore… but three generations had worn that dress – and Katya was the last of the lineage…

I walked down the hallway to peer into Moms room as Dad had so many times before.  Was Paula there?  Was she asleep?  Was she ironing or sewing?  The room was empty – and full all at the same time.  I thought if I looked quickly I could see her smiling at me as she was waking up from a quick afternoon rest… rarely did that happen, but it always seemed to comfort me that she could rest.

I walked down the hall to Dads room – the room where it had all ended — I expected to see him there.  But, alas, neither bed, nor Poppa were to be seen.  Ben heard me and came to see if I was okay – my 6 foot son put his arm around me and we both stood there knowing how happy Nana and Poppa would be that he grew up to be such a fine, young man.  You done good, kid, I heard my Dad say.  And with that, my son Ben and I turned around and left.  Buenos noches, Poppa – hasta manana – TTFN.  Sleep well. I love you both! 

It was odd, locking the door for the last time.  I did not cry.  They were not there.  I did not feel compelled to open the door quickly to check to see if I could sneak a peek.  Bill and Paula had definitely left the building. 

And so it was that today was our last glimpse of what was once a very happy household.  It was now my turn to provide that stability, comfort, and sense of belonging in my  own home.  I always said to my parents that my home had been wherever they were – now it is with my family and I.  Apartment 1001 is now us.. my husband, three children, and I. 

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Categories: Duff History, Life's Lessons, Mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Apartment 1001 re-visited

  1. This is so beautiful Stacey. Just think, they were likely watching, holding hands, and admiring the view. The view of you and your son. You processing your grief. Claiming your joy and your love with their memories. And taking them home with you. Because home is where they are. And they are with you. This was just beautiful.

    • Oh – Colleen – you have a way of making me feel so much better – are you sure we are not related? grin. Maybe in another life… anyhow – thank-you so very, very much for you affirmation. It means so much to me…

      • I’m glad it helps. And by the way, regarding being related… I see you standing with your dad and think….do I know her???? 🙂 Maybe that ‘other life’ kind of feeling. 🙂

      • Oh – cool! I wonder..

  2. A touching post Stacey. {Hugs}

    • Thanks, RoSy – takes one to know one.. I think you and I have a lot in common in terms of our sentimentality.. right?

  3. Janine

    Thanks Stacey…. Memories last a life time. Our mark in the world and the people we touch.

    • Thank-you, Janine. And you were part of that mark – especially when it came to the kindness, grace, and care you have offered me and my family – and especially my Dad. Blessings to you.

  4. I have come back to your post several times and I still can’t find the right words for a comment. The problem is that it is not words that come to mind but feelings; of great love and wanting very much to be on a similar accepting, embracing level when it is my turn to farewell the older generation. You have been and you are blessed.

    • I could not agree with you more in that I am able to accept more and more every day. The journey has been very difficult – I knew it would be. Sometimes I cannot believe that I am finally in this position of acceptance. I appreciate your thoughtful comment very much and I am confident that when the time comes – you too will – through time – be able to bid adieu.

      • I appreciate your vote of confidence! Here are some words which I found in my book of blessings by John O’Donohue which I like very much. From ‘For Grief” Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
        With the invisible form of your departed;
        And when the work of grief is done,
        The wound of loss will heal
        And you will have learned
        To wean your eyes
        From that gap in the air
        And be able to enter the hearth
        In your soul where your loved one
        Has awaited your return
        All the time.

      • I sent this quote to an organization I used to be involved with heavily – Rainbows.org Thank-you, it captures the journey beautifully!

      • I am glad you liked it. John O’Donohue is a new poet for me but I am loving his work so much. It resonates with me and my experience of life to date.

  5. That is so beautiful! I admire the kind, sweet relationship you describe between your parents. The way you write about them tells me your parents were loving to you, too.

    • Thanks, Denise. I know that I have been very blessed. Funny how one really cannot appreciate your parents until they are gone. I just hope that we all learn lessons to make us all better than the previous generation – open to new challenges – and ready to take action. My parents were indeed wonderfully supportive of my projects – and I certainly did challenge them!

  6. Wonderful post. The gift of memory – what a gift. I love the way you now see it all being passed on to you. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

    • Thank-you so much, Don. i think thats the way it is supposed to go – in the beginning and on some – not-so-strong days, I still feel myself rejecting it – slipping back to my childhood days. Time has been a wonderful healer, though. I highly recommend it! Thanks for the comments and support.

  7. Alice

    I do love the photo.

  8. Gwen

    Wow, so many wonderful memories that you can still remember and hold close to your heart. Wherever your parents lived, the place was filled with love.

  9. Laurie McCarthy

    So beautifully written my friend😰

    • Thanks, Laurie – it was, wasn’t it? I actually surprised myself when I read it. No chemo brain then. grin.

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