My Mom is a people watcher. Always has been. She gets that from her dad. I have memories of going to Penticton to visit my Pappa Alec and there were two local Zoo’s that he would take me for an outing. One was the one of the animal variety, but I think his favourite and mine, as well, was going to the mall. Pappa would grab us both an ice cream cone and park us outside the food fair on a little bench and we would watch the people. I don’t recall a lot of commentary, but I do recall a cheeky smile shared between him and I, or a raised eyebrow. It was our thing and moments I am remembering today as I have been spending time with mom in rehab.
Her attention is drawn to what is happening around her, however, I am not always sure what she is thinking or seeing. But there is one gentleman in rehab who looks remarkably like her dad. When they are in the dining hall, my mom cannot look away. I asked her, “he sure looks like Pappa Alec, hey Mom,” my heart tightened in my chest as she responded, “that is my dad…he is looking for the candy they keep in the cupboard.”
How do you tell someone such painful truth making the loss so fresh again. Pappa Alec hasn’t been with us in years. We do have the hard conversation to reconnect the memory…to try and find the correct neural pathways for what is true for today. She has tears…says it must have been so hard to lose him and then her gaze goes back to Pappa’s doppelganger who meanders around in his wheelchair and I know she is back there…disconnected again, but enjoying watching her dad watching the people.
So we do this together…watch the people…share the moment.