"Just A Note" © Rolly A. Chabot
The Fireside is crackling, it is some chilly out there and here we thought this was all over. I must tell you a little tired of this winter stuff and I can understand why half of Canada heads South for the winter months. There was a time when I thought they were all crazy but I have been having a change of mind, especially this winter. We have been having this since the third week in October and people here in this little community are starting to get a little stir crazy.
Yesterday I was out walking Quigley and when I said good day to someone their eyes glazed over and they grumbled, "What is so good about it." I got me to thinking a little, well actually a whole lot about what is good about any day and the need to find as much good as we can.
Memories is what I would like to chatter about today. We all have them and when we find those days when nothing is going right, well dig into the memory bank and take out a withdrawal. While you are at it take the time to brighten the day of the person who is maybe not having a great one. In this case pick up the snow shovel and lend a hand, if only for a minute or two help out with a task of any kind. Before long that same person is bending down to pet the infamous Quigley. She can melt the heart of the most hardened. She does it with joy that is filled with love. What can we learn from Quigley, well I can tell you a great deal.
So all gather round, what ever you can find help yourself. I think Hot Chocolate is on order for the day but there is coffee and tea, snacks are in limited supply. If you are hungry well there is the fridge, just help yourself. No matter what I want you to know that you are dearly loved here at the Fireside, so come and settle in while I slip back into some memories.
I would like to introduce my Mom to you. Her name is "Tiny," as she is affectionately named. My Dad was the one that tagged her with that name. It is actually Delphine, but the name Tiny comes from the fact she never made it over 5 feet in her entire life. Years ago Mom and Dad and I were in a mall and Dad and I lost Mom. We found her standing in a group of football players who were doing a promo for the team. It was comical as Mom hardly be seen among these monsters. What caught my attention was one of them called out loudly "Careful boys don't step on the lady" She was in in her glory, in later years one of them became the leader of the Government here in Alberta Canada and she had a picture of them standing together.
Memories are many with Mom, she had a big heart and tolerated me the angel in the family when none other would. She could be stern when she had to be and yet no matter there was love. Life was not easy for Mom while she was young, Grandfather was definitely the ruler of the home. Sometimes Mom would be the same with us. Was t because she did not love us, no certainly not. It was what she had been taught as a child. Mom was a member in a family of 16 if you can imagine. It was the French Catholic way at the time. Poor Grandmother at the time never knew what it was like to be without a child inside and another nursing I am sure. Mom was the tenth child and today there are only two remaining.
It was not until later in life did Mom share with me her hurts. She said to me once she could only remember her Dad ever once taking her into his arms and offering love and comfort during the time of loss of her loved brother. As I sit here in the wee hours of the morning I for the life of me can not fathom a father missing out on the love of a child.
Grandfather was hard even with us grandchildren. It was somewhat hard to visit as children as we were to be seen and not heard. I can recall one Christmas getting a handmade bobsled from him that became the envy of the town. You see people can be as hard as nails and yet have a heart of gold tucked away inside.
The areas for me as a child where there was maybe a lack of affection shown were more than rewarded in the gifts that Mom gave. Christmas would be special and we all looked forward to the handmade coats she would sew for hour on end. Dolly sings of a coat of many colours, well Moms may not have been of many colours but you know they were made with love. Mom and Dad made a good team, were one maybe slipped the other would take up the reins. We were blessed.
Today Mom lives in a fog of memories that have been misplaced. It is hard to watch a once very talented accomplished artist stumble over words in her attempts to speak what she would like. Dementia is a horrid illness for us to watch. To begin with I would watch Mom struggle to and become frustrated not being able to vocalize what she had on her mind.
Today I watch and listen to her speak half French and half English and carry on a conversation and I can carry on a conversation with her she thinks is normal, yet in essence makes little or no sense. When I use a French word that does not quite line up with what she knows she laughs.
It is these very special moments when she reaches out with both hands and takes my face into them and speaks of how proud she is of me that truly count. They are the tender moments I missed out on as a child and they mean so very much to me no matter the language she uses it means the same. There is nothing more powerful to any of us than the words of love.
As a Pastor I have been given the privilege of consecrating the elements of bread and wine or juice into the body and blood of Christ. It is a part of most faiths today along with prayer. When I do so with Mom there is a peace and a calm that comes over her I hold so dear as she partakes and I see her so blessed. What more could any child no matter the age ask for but to see peace come over a parent. I so treasure those moments with her.
For years as a child they prayed that one of their sons or daughters would be ordained into the Priesthood or religious order. Both Mom and Dad were a part of the day where I was ordained as a Pastor. To me it was a point and time where I had reached a point of answered prayer they had given so often over the years. For those of you who are Christians I was able to lead both Mom and Dad in the prayer of salvation. It was a blessing knowing today where my Dad is. He passed away in 2005 and poor Mom even today weeps at the mention of his name. They had 63 years of married life together. What a lesson in love and faith it has been for us children.
There Were Many
Mom was always rather feisty when it came to sticking up for the underdog. A bit of an advocate for defending what she believed in. Sometimes she would be wrong and maybe not have all the facts but she would still stick to her guns and speak out.
She struggled with technology, just about the time Blue Ray came out Mom was getting the VCR figured out. One year I bought her a DVD Player to simplify things or so I thought at least. I hooked it up, programed it on one remote for her. We sat for the longest time and practiced over and over again. I drove the three hours back home and she called to tell me she just loved the show she had been watching. I was pleased, no mishaps.
The story changed the next day because I had left the manual with her and she decided she had to tweak things a little. I managed to get all working again over the phone and suggested she just leave things the way they were. She called again and said it was broken a few days later and I discovered she had put the disc in upside down. Well we got that figured then came my mischievous when I told her to remember to rewind the DVD each time. You could hear papers rattling in the background and she wanted to write it all down. I told her she had to push the # 9 on the remote every time she was done. It took her a few years before she learned what I was up too.
The Best and Getting Caught Look
Dad and I were much alike. He was the master of setting people up and having fun. Poor mom over the years of his doings and yet she took it all in stride.
When computers first came out and we started to us email rather than snail mail mom was sitting and reading about how the Post Office was concerned about all the loss of revenue and what they may have to do combat the loss of business. Like I said mom was a bear cat when it came to government and taxes and the likes.
I thought it might be a good time to step in and add a little fuel to the fire. I told her the government was going to start charging us for "Email Stamps." Now like I said mom was a little challenged Techie world but she did know that us four children sent plenty of emails. Immediately she jumped up and was going to do battle for her kids.
I told here there was a period of a months grace and we could by these email stamps at the Post Office for a reduced rate for the next 30 days. The following morning with dad in tow (I was already 3 hours south) she stepped up to the stamp wicket and demanded she wanted to buy email stamps at the reduced rate. Dad told me later the cashier near lost it but told mom they were out. I guess dad was laughing so hard in the back ground tears were flowing down his face.
It took a few years before I was busted again. All in all we did have some fun at Mom's expense but she would just laugh and glare at me or Dad.
Yes memories, good and back can help to ground us again when the going gets hard sometimes. I look at this small lady today and think of all the things she has seen in her life and yet she still has a smile that can warm the heart.
A few years ago when this all started there was a great deal of anger and frustration not being able to express herself. Today I see she has peace, it has been my prayer all along and I see they have been answered. Her memories are faded, her worries none because she knows Gods ultimate love for her. What more could a child want for his parent, I gives me peace knowing she is at peace. It is those little moments of recognition that make the long drives to see her worthwhile. Even to just sit and hold her hand and know she knows she is loved is what counts.
© Rolly A. Chabot