Friday, August 19, 2011

Journal 53 This Summer

Time, as it is wont to do, has really run away with me this summer, this year, these last two years.
I got an email from the CN Tower yesterday. Well, not FROM the Tower itself, but from the United Way, about their annual charity climb, held late-October, and I had to remind myself that it has been almost two years since I did that climb, wrote that blog post, called my Dad on the phone afterwards because I was feeling Not Good at all, and he was advising me on what I could do to feel better.
I want to do the Climb again (how's that for a metaphor?) but the memories even that little bit dredged up are very painful. I lived in a different situation then, life hadn't yet ripped a bit at the seams, and I felt safe, despite the fact that I had just climbed over 144 flights of 8 steps a piece, in under 24 minutes.
Even as I type this, as my ipod plays "Sprawl" by Arcade Fire, what I consider the theme song to my thirty-seventh year, I can barely register that my last 'real' vacation was a year ago, and that, even then, I was living a different life, with different people playing different roles.
People have come and gone so much in the last two years or so.
Hence the time-travel posts. It behooves me to make sense of it somehow.

This summer I have spent a lot of time at my Mom's house, where she now resides by herself, a huge change for someone who was married for over forty years. I haven't, as I was emailing my friend L. tonight, even let myself think of the 'lasts' at the house this summer, so far.
It is, after all, the last summer of this house. It is to be sold in the fall, so my Mom can move closer to my sister and me downtown, and all the memories and whispers in its walls will go with it on that day. I know they will still be with me, with US, but the physical reality, much like the physical reality of my father, will be gone. I will have to cultivate and conjure up its walls, its doors, its stairs--it will appear in my dreams the same way my childhood home weaves its way into my dreams on a regular basis. Just the other night, I was in the townhouse I grew up in, in dream land, and my father was greeting a boy who was waiting to meet me on our front steps. Once again, as always in these dreams, my father is young and healthy. He is about the age I am now in these dreams ( I do the math--my father at thirty-eight was the very protective father of one very secretive, determined thirteen-year-old daughter. Me).
As I look toward my thirty-eighth birthday, due this coming Wednesday, I cannot imagine having a thirteen-year-old, and a twelve-year-old, at the same time. At this stage.
I cannot imagine that only five years prior to this I would have lost both my parents, as my father did, when he was thirty-three, in the same year.
It does put some perspective on things, I'll say that.
Like that saying "Life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards". Too true.
Hindsight and all that. What if, during our formative years, we each had the chance to switch roles with our parents, for even just one day, and live in their consciousness, and better understand the decisions they made, that may have seemed misguided at the time?
What a way to bridge the generation gap.

I try not to dwell on 'lasts' and think, as is my minds' way, the 'catastrophic' ending to all things. I try to remember instead, my parents' backyard when my dad comforted me after a bad break-up last year, eating hamburgers outside, things he could no longer eat. I think, instead, of the magical Christmases, not the one that just past, with its lovely meal that he could not have.
I don't think about my long runs around the paths at their house, that will forever, no matter how far away I place them in time, remind me of my father's funeral, of the thoughts running through my head as I ran, every day of that week between his death and his funeral. About how warm it was out, about suburbia and its absolute stillness at times--its' lifelessness.

That's what the summer has been. Me, moving along the path and the timelines, sometimes. Other times I don't move from a chair for a long time, and it doesn't occur to me that I should.

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