My husband is the consummate traveler through life. He rents his books, buys only the clothing he needs, and rarely makes spur-of-the-moment purchases. He’s no different when it comes to real traveling; he travels light, packing only the bare bone essentials into a carry-on bag if possible.
Being his complete opposite, I live a more settled existence, surrounded by a lovely home chock-full of stuff, most of which needs to be washed or dusted. It’s far too easy for me to accumlate stuff and one look into my library reveals my most glaring weakness for books. And when it comes to closets, I figure I’m not the only gal in this world to have stored three sizes of clothes for almost ten years in the hope I might one day wear that smallest size again. Moving to Oklahoma became my day of reckoning, as I came to terms with the likely reality that I will never again wear a size six; and moving to a historic home with very small closets made those size sixes much easier to part with.
But my nest is feathered light compared to my mother’s. Mom always was a pack rat, though once she and Dad settled into retirement, Mom became even more earnest about the business of accumulation. At the time of Mom’s death, she left the equivalent of two double car garages and one house stuffed to the gills. And with Daddy’s failing health, I fear my sister and I will soon be forced to reckon with our scary inheritance.
Sitting with my frail father has instructed me on the art of traveling light as Daddy inches closer to death. These days, Daddy is not interested in the daily happenings of the world, as reported by the local newspapers. Nor is Daddy imersed in life as depicted by his once favored television shows. As Daddy skinnys down his life to the bare bones, Daddy has even discarded a few people that once held importance. I happen to be one of them. And while it hurts to unintentionally fall between the cracks of Daddy’s short attention span, I understand that in some godawfulway (yes, one word, said real fast), Daddy is not really Daddy anymore.
More often than not, Dad’s spirit travels as light as a feather to only God knows where. Our visits of late remind me a lot of my final visits to my mother’s ICU bedside. And though Dad is not in a coma, Dad is still unaccessible. At best our visits are a series of one-side conversations punctuated by golden silence. Yet at times something mysterious will grab Dad’s attention and Daddy will point his finger to a spot somewhere over my shoulder. I turn around to nothing, but sense that Daddy is seeing something that only Daddy can see. Perhaps some spirit from the invisible world has come to help Daddy learn what it really means to travel light?
Too soon. Daddy will be traveling toward the light.