Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beyong the gate

It looks charming, and it is. A simple wooden gate, painted white, the typical "picket fence" attracts the eye, but looking around, the scent of the frangipanni flowers also attracts the senses.

This is the gate that leads to my father’s room... beyond this gate, my father lies dying.

It's part of a beautiful Nursing Home in Rockhampton, and I grow to both love, and eventually dread, this gate.

The frangipanni tree offers me large clumps of flowers - their heads bowed in respect. The path is swept on a daily basis, so that any flowers that may fall are fresh and clean, unbruised, unlike my heavy heart.
Will he remember me today? Will he still be there, in his mind, in his body?

I pick a frangipanni and place it behind my right ear, so it shines out happily when he sees me.

They have always been my favourite flower, in their pureness and simplicity, the heady, giddy perfume enclosing me within a safe world of childhood memories, of hanging upside down in a huge old tree, marvelling at the hugeness of the world in my front garden.

Wonderful memories of reading books and eating apples, running around the frangipanni tree kicking up the leaves in autumn...waiting patiently for the first sings of new growth, the dark green tips sprouting from each barren stem, holding the promise of another summer, more glorious flowers, more hanging upside down to compare if my world had expanded during the winter.

This gate, this white, simple gate leads to where my father lies dying.

I took this photo as a precaution to a hazy memory, I wanted to savour every detail about my dad before stress and loss dimmed my memory.

Now I look at it, and although I am smiling with my love of the tree with its daily offerings of fresh perfumed flowers for me to enjoy, I am reminded of a softer, sadder time, where breathing becomes a chore, where time not only stands still, but runs backwards, as we the children become the adults and vise versa.

I push the gate open, and stoop to collect my flower...

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