Old-old age was on the menu; a bad back, a tired ticker; failing eyesight, choppy conversations from the hard of hearing; fine dining for the lonely, the infirmed and the marginalized. For most, my father included, chronic conditions punctuate every waking moment and many of the nocturnal moments devoted to that elusive elixir, sleep.
“It beats the alternative,” my father quips in defiance on his good days.
The good days are fading like old photographs. Pain and perseverance are constant companions, my father’s only steady companions aside from his cat, Dusty. At 91 defying the odds has become an uphill battle. The World War II and Korean War vet knows a thing or two about battles; he knows, too, with every passing day, that nobody wins this war. Still, surrender seems out of the question.
The troops filling the dining room were weary, too. Battle fatigue was evident in the stoop of their shoulders, in the shuffle of their feet, in the sadness around the eyes. It’s a lonely road to that distant destination, the inevitable losses (loved ones, close friends, health, dignity, purpose) not for the faint of heart.
My heart aches for the frail and vulnerable man who now walks in my father’s shoes. Even my father seems surprised by the old-old man with whom he now shares so much history – the boy from long ago, the father of yesteryear, the marine, the widower, the nonagenarian.
Still, it was fine dining listening to the life stories shared by our dining companions. All represented profiles in courage.
You May Also Like: