It's still him...
Just look inside......
Entering the apartment I notice that he's in his usual place...his faithful recliner. His head is tilted back a bit and his eyes are closed. Gnarled fingers grasp a wooden cane, worn smooth from years of use. It's propped between his legs. He's wearing his favorite shirt, a navy blue, white and red checkered flannel shirt. It's buttoned all the way to the neck. His blue jeans are held in place with a leather belt, his favorite. He's wearing a new pair of sketcher sneakers...glaring white. He's so damn proud of those sneakers. Loves em like they've promised to help him leap over tall buildings in a single bound. I smile as I take the sight of him in.
I quietly walk over and kiss his cheek. "Hey dad," I whisper gently. He wakes with a start and then smiles. "Hey there baby girl, how's my Cinderella?" he asks as he extends his arm out to me. We hug and I pull up a chair. We talk about this and that and everything in between. I study his face. Deep lines etch the sides of his mouth to accomodate his beautiful smile and his eyes are clouded behind thick glasses. The hair on his head has turned white and sparce, but he still takes care to comb it each day. He is neatly shaven and smells of his favorite aftershave.
My mind flits back through the years, to a time when he was young, strong and vibrant. He's worn many hats: restaurant/bar owner, big band jazz musician, carpenter. Husband, father, brother, uncle, grandpa,son, cousin and friend. His life was full back then. He has loved so many and was loved by as much. He made people laugh and he made people cry. He pissed people off. He used to be "hollywood" handsome, the classic tall, dark and good looking. Tan, lean, impeccably dressed. He had a head full of thick, dark hair and his smile was brilliantly white. His love of life was contagious and people flocked to him. He was intense and strong willed and when he entered the room, everyone knew it....not in a bad way, but in a way where he made everyone feel special. When he spoke to you he made you feel as though you were the only person in the room. He complimented freely and generously. He cared deeply and loved completely. And I miss him....for just a moment. Quite suddenly my mind comes to grip with the concept of age and I'm touched quite profoundly by one thunderous thought....how can I miss someone who is still here? Age has not taken away the man...he is filled with memories and stories and a history that is so rich, and he is more now than he ever was because of it.
My mind returns to the here and now and I look into his eyes and I see love. Though cloudy they still reflect his soul. His body is frail now and his legs are weak. But his heart is still made of pure gold and his smile still lights up a room. You would never know that he used to be a man to be reckoned with....and you would never know that he still is.
People age but never discount the fact that who they used to be, they still are. Their hearts and their souls remain the same.
When you look into those clouded eyes or you hug their frail body or you hold their gnarled hand, just remember that on the inside they are still beautiful and vibrant and they are still filled with love.
And Honor That.
This hub is in honor of my father in law, James Guzman, who passed away on June 28, 2012. I am honored to have had him in my life. RIP dad....and I love you very much.
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