I'm sitting here, mellowed out, thinking about Christmases past. And I remember how hard my dad worked to put stuff under the tree for my brother and me. Mum was in and out of hospitals (mostly the psych wards) when we were small. I don't know how my father kept it all together.
I remember being small and waiting for him to come home. And the back door opening. He smelled like wind and snow and soot from the foundry. His hands were strong but his back was bent. I recall the freezing touch of his cheek when he grabbed us up. And the cocoa he made for us.
His final Christmas -- six months before the nursing home and four more until his death -- he looked out the window on Christmas Eve. Across the river, a few miserable street lights. But he saw colour and shapes. "Look at that," he said. "Can you see it all?" So we had a beer, watching the street lights through the snow. The tiny pinpricks of pale light that he thought were marvelous. Like a kid again. Him. And me, too.
4 months ago