My Mum has gotten stronger, so on Mondays, I had been accompanying my parents to a thrift store. It is a place for Mum to go, social butterfly that she is, to get out of the house for a bit.
We had several check out discussions, about me not paying for anything, they have enough.
At first, we hovered around my Mum. She had been so fragile, clutching the shopping cart with her oxygen tank in the kiddie seat. My Dad and I were both worried about her, I suppose.
As my Mum regained her strength, those weekly trips got to be a little boring. I was never really looking for anything, just tripping around browsing the books and sometimes the wall of household castoffs. Dad would poke around in tools and electronics, we would meet up in books, me looking for anything but Patterson and Dad looking for a Patterson he hadn’t read yet.
Eventually, my Dad and I would find some random seats (an old fainting couch, dining room chairs). Our conversations would range from discussions about what we were both reading to movies, to politics. I like to think that we were building acceptance. I wonder how he saw it, though. From what my brother has said since my Dad’s death, the family perceives me as defiant.
I cherish my memories of those trips and the conversations we had. There was nothing intense about them, just a comfortable ease, an intimacy that is only achieved by spending time together. Knowing that these were his last few months might have brought urgency and intensity to the conversations we had. I thought, like all of my family, that we would lose my Mum first, so the efforts at intimacy, the urgency of communication, have gone to her. I thought I would have more time with my Dad.