Friday, August 05, 2011

Courage My Love


I've alluded to the difficulty my mom has been going through a few times and now its time to tell the tale, in brief at least.

Last spring she started having some pain in her legs. At first she thought it was arthritis but it became progressively worse until she could barely stand it. My Mom is old style, she's tough and stoic and so when we would find her in tears from the pain she was in we knew it had to be very bad.

Visits to the doctor found nothing. Specialist after specialist, test after test, all with no story to tell, no cause unmasked. The pain continued and she got weaker and weaker. She began to lose weight and her mobility was reduced and we feared the worse. By August she could not walk and she was in the hospital.

August, September, October, November. Dad visited each day, rain, shine, snow. They tested for everything and found nothing. It wasn't cancer, thank God. And when whatever it was ran its course it got no worse. It did leave Mom in a wheelchair and in some pain, although the pain can be controlled fairly well. I took a Greyhound bus up to Sudbury and Dad and I cleaned and prepped and in December she came home. Finally.

My folks are the most positive people around but they were tested sorely here. Bowed, bent, not broken, they vowed to carry on as best they can. They were slowing down in any case (Dad will be eighty next year, Mom is just a year behind) but now, well now there was a challenge. Because Mom, more than anything, wanted to get back up to camp.

They've been up there very summer since 1968. Every year as long as they could get up there they would. Weekends, holidays, from the time the ice broke up until the snow was about to fly. And sometimes in the dead of winter. And on top of everything there be monsters.

Here's the thing. Its boat access. Its isolated. We're not talking a cottage on a street in the Muskokas where they are packed in cheek to cheek or a modern joint you can drive up to. We're talking a boat ride across a lake from one old worn grey dock to another, a log cabin without electricity or running water or a flush toilet. We're talking an outhouse. This is the real deal. We're not talking sidewalks or pavement, there's not an ounce of that to be found.

Its not really where you would recommend a couple of near eighty year olds, one in a wheelchair, set up shop for a lengthy period of time.

This picture above is of my folks hanging out at the annual camp picnic. They made it.

They had help. My Dad's best friend Otto passed away a number of years ago and its his son who now owns the camp next door. He and his boys and Dad built a ramp from dock to the sleepcamp deck. They cleared and levelled the path through the woods to their camp so that Mom could, with help, take her scooter through the forest to their place for dinner and beers and whatever is going on that day.

They went up the day before we did and Mick lifted my Mom into his boat nice and easy and across the lake she went and when I called that night to see how things were Mick said 'well she's sitting on the deck right now, looking out on the lake, having a beer. She's pretty happy'

Two nights later we had dinner on the porch, two close families, and looked out on the lake in the gathering gloom. Dad kept saying that we never thought she'd make it back.

But they did. Goes to show you what a couple of strong hearts can accomplish, with some help of course.

14 comments:

Coach pb9617 said...

You really should write a book.

My Dad's best friend Otto passed away a number of years ago and its his son who now owns the camp next door. He and his boys and Dad built a ramp from dock to the sleepcamp deck. They cleared and levelled the path through the woods to their camp so that Mom could, with help, take her scooter through the forest to their place for dinner and beers and whatever is going on that day.

Hell, I feel like I need to buy those guys a case or two.

rubbertrout said...

I keep waiting for a book too.

I also want to buy those guys a beer. Fabulous friends and neighbours don't grown on trees anymore.

Dennis said...

Raised by my grandparents and Mom's the only one left and she turned 78 a couple of weeks ago.

So, I know all about seeing this stuff so a story like this hits me in the right place.

Love your stuff, Pat:)

Note: that was probably uttered somewhere by somebody in the tall grass back in the late 80's:)

Black Dog said...

Thanks for the kind words guys, this one was from the heart.

Nice one Dennis, always loved those catchy Fleetwood Mac tunes ;)

quiltmom said...

Pat, What a wonderful testament of love and determination. May your parents enjoy the many moments that they have at the cabin.
You might want to add a warning sign: this story may touch you enough to cry- bring a kleenex.
Thanks for sharing a story that celebrates the beautiful things that can happen in life.
Warmest regards,
Anna McCurdy

Anonymous said...

Never knew Pat made loving. Then again I know I am not the only one.

Again Pat, thanks for the testament on true love. I, like you, come a family of good folks and I am thankful every day for it. It is moments like the one you just described make live so fulfilling. Take care and have a safe road trip.

- Matt Watt -

Max Powers said...

Ha! Why am I not surprised to see both your parents with a beer in their hand and a smile on their face. It would seem that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree!

God bless you and your family Pat. The reason I religiously read your blog is because of the intense personal flare you put in just about every article.

macaotim said...

Just what I needed to read this AM...in a great mood. Thanks.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Anna and Tim, Max and Matt. My favourite part of writing here is the response in the comments. I appreciate the kind words.

Bar Qu said...

Good to see there are still people willing to move heaven and (literally) earth to help neighbors. And good to see your folks enjoying the great outdoors. I hope 2011-12 is a great year for you and them.

Darren said...

Glad to hear they could still make out Pat, and that they have some quality neighbours around.
My Oma is a widow for 20yrs now, and strongly independant. Problem is, the Dr. took her lisence away. So while she can still walk everywhere yet, we all know how lovely an Edmonton winter is, and we fear dementia coming around the corner.
Hopefully we can be as strong-willed as our forefathers (and mothers!)

Jeremy said...

Beautiful post Pat. I really hope that you are able to enjoy many more summers together with your parents. You have a great way of telling stories. Thanks for take the time to write.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Jeremy and Quinn, here's hoping!

Darren - my Mom's mom said a number of years ago that whoever coined the phrase 'the golden years' should be cut up and fed to the dogs (well she didn't say that exactly but that was her tone ;) )

Its not easy growing old. Here's hoping your Oma has many good years left, as you said when it came to handing out toughness that generation wasn't out fucking around.

Swabbubba said...

I see where u get your words from. My parents are up there my pa still curls 86 and going. Oiler fan to boot although he was Leaf fan prior... You sir are cut from fine stock.. nice story