I arrived to a flurry of activity. They were packing for a trip to the coast to visit friends and family for the holiday. Piles of suitcases and boxes of food were building by the open front door. I found him in his room, dozing as he listened to the voices and activity. He agreed to kick back in his lounge chair for a while, I massaged his feet and legs, letting his mind wander and his thoughts flow.
“I woke up at 2 am and couldn’t go back to sleep.”
“You had a busy Sunday,” I offered.
“So, I thought, what would be good right now? And I decided to cut wood. I imagined a chain saw and many tall, large trees. I set to work and by 5 am when I finally fell asleep, I had made plenty of firewood.” He drifted off for a moment. I listened to the conversations and household commotion.
It occurred to me, that traveling as I once did with two small children, is not unlike traveling with someone who is old. The porta-beds, play-pens and strollers are replaced with oxygen machines, wheelchairs and ramps, medicines and hospital supplies, carefully chosen foods and the “just in case” bag. As others saw to the planning and packing, he and I took our time finding his tweed vest, locating his favorite cap and making one last trip to the toilet.
When, at the last moment, the car was fully packed and I helped him slide into the passenger’s seat, he looked surprised. “You are not coming?” he demanded.
“Not this time, I’ll be here when you come home.”