Thursday, October 14, 2010

Where Will I Put My Hands?

I still remember the day my sister called and told me Dad had passed. January 28. I expected it when we left their house after our visit at Christmas, and I cried all the way from Southern California back to Northern California, knowing I probably wouldn't see my father again.

Mom and Dad had lived in the same house for quite a while. My dad's health had failed, and he became more possessive of my mother. She was the center of his world and he didn't want to share her with anyone. For some reason, right before he died, he asked Mom to promise not to sell the house. I think he knew it would be paid off soon and he wanted to provide for her. That’s the only reason I can think of.  It’s not like she lived in a mansion with a moat around it.

Anyhow, Daddy died in his den, doing what he loved most...watching TV. He passed sometime during the middle of the night, and by the time Mom found him, it was far too late to call for help.

My sisters and I set about trying to change the "look" of the house to help Mom forget how and where Dad had died. We took the recliners out of the den and transformed it back into the bedroom it was supposed to be. We changed the appearance, but we couldn't disguise the memories.

When it became apparent that Mom couldn't deal with her grief, we decided she needed to start a new chapter of her life, and encouraged her to sell the house and move somewhere else. She was reluctant at first because of her promise, but we convinced her Dad wouldn't really want her to stay in a house where such a void existed.

We didn't figure on all the strange things that would happen: First, she couldn't sell because she didn't have an easement to the driveway...the only way into the yard. She had to go to court and gain access to a house she'd lived in for years. You know how tiring the legal system can be. It took a long time and a lot of effort.

Then the Real Estate agent told Mom that California Law required a home to have a carport or garage. Dad and my Uncles had transformed the old carport into an apartment for my grandmother. So, Mom had to invest money she didn't have in putting up a carport for a potential buyer. Dad hadn't left any insurance...there had never been money for a policy or a job that provided any.

The stress of selling and the hurdles took pounds off my mother and made her hair thin. I worried about did my sisters and brother. But, one day someone did buy the house. Wanda. It was perfect for her daycare center, and her mother who lived with her.

She and Mom liked each other from the beginning, but Mom was warned by the agent NOT to divulge that someone had died in the home. Such news could possibly drive the buyer away. So Mom stayed mum.

Mom then found another hurdle...a buying frenzy in the area she sought. She had to camp out overnight to be in line to buy the home she wanted. I have to give her credit for perseverance... she got it. She and granny moved into their new "chapter."

Mom and Wanda stayed in touch for a while after the move as Mom had left a few boxes behind to be picked up later on. One day, Wanda called and asked my mother a most disturbing question.

"I know this sounds strange, but did your husband stand a certain way in front of the know, when he peed?"

Mom was stunned. He had. Dad was a portly man and had developed a habit of leaning forward and putting his hands on the window sill. Wanda had been putting up curtains in the bathroom to replace the beaded valance Mom had left behind when she claimed to have heard a voice from behind her say, "Now, where will I put my hands."

Mom shared the information, amazed that Wanda would know something so personal. She was really shocked when Wanda asked, "Your husband died here, didn't he?"

I'm sure Mom didn't know what to say. Guilty for keeping the secret, reminded of her pain...what a myriad of emotions to deal with. But Wanda knew else could she tell Mom..."I think he must have died in the front bedroom because it's coldest in that room. And on certain nights, I'm sure he's in the master bedroom because my dog growls and won't go in there. Did he spend a lot of time in bed?"

The front bedroom had been the den, and Dad had spent most of his time in bed as his condition grew weaker. But Wanda also knew one more place Dad went.

"Your husband must have sat at the end of the bar in the kitchen a lot. That part of the room turns icy cold from time to time."

We were convinced. Dad was still 'living' in West Covina with Wanda. She wasn't afraid or threatened by him. It seems she was an empath and dealt with spirits. She assured Mom that she'd help Dad move on.

Well, Dad was stubborn. We assumed he was mad at us for selling the house and now he was going to stay there come hell or high water. It seemed strange to visit his grave but know he was still at Wanda's.  Seemed funny, dad "not living" with another woman.

He stayed around for quite a while, but one day, Wanda called and told us Dad had finally passed to the other side. I guess he just missed Mom too much, and Wanda seemed like the type that wouldn't put up with his habits or BS.

I still miss my Dad, but at least I know he finally found peace even if it took a while. I hope there aren't any curtains in heaven or there will be hell to pay.

Note:  How strange that my post appears on my parent's wedding anniversary.  Had my father lived, they would be celebrating sixty-six years together today.  I need to call my Mom and tell her how much I love her.  :)


Viviane Brentanos said...

Woderful, poignant post.

Roseanne Dowell said...

What a wonderful story.

L. K. Below/Lindsay Below said...

Wow. That's really riveting. Such an odd and interesting story, Ginger!

Lin said...

You, My dear Friend, have done it yet again.

I am always amazed by how strong and determined the soul is when it releases from the shell of the body. We are supposed to now have the knowledge of all our previous lifetimes when the soul passes from the body and beyond the does that mean your Dad was staying behind because he and your Mom had not just shared ONE lifetime but perhaps he recognized his Spirit-twin?

A twin is more than a soul-mate. A twin is exactly what it sounds like it should soul split into two sent off by our Higher Self to live two life spans at any one moment in time.

The love that the shell of life can give soul-twins when they are fortunate enough to find one another has no equal on either side of the veil. Could that be why your Dad refused to leave even though he had an empathic medium right there to aide him?

I'll bet you there were times when your Mom felt your Dad even after she left the home they'd shared. Perhaps not with the intensity of his occupance at their home, but still, I bet from time-to-time she caught a hint of his cologne, or a whispered word that she knew was his voice on the wind.

Fantastic story Ginger and all the more powerful because I know it is your truth.

Love You for sharing, and so much more.

J.Q. Rose said...

The sentence that caught me was going to the cemetery to visit knowing your dad was still at the house in West Covina...Very clever story telling. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Thanks to everyone who visited and commented today. I find a strange peace in knowing that Dad isn't at Wanda's anymore and that he finally found a place to rest. He's been gone since 1986, but in some ways it still seems like yesterday. I'm sure he's up in heaven sparring with my grandmother over who has the most right to my Mom. :)

MuseItUp Publishing said...

Oh Ginger, touched my heart and soul. I miss my daddy sooo much and look at his pics surrounding my desk with a smile always because I know he's here beside me and in my heart forever.