Friday, February 20, 2015

(part 285) THE HAT

I get zero satisfaction writing what I've written about lately. On the other hand it was this blog that caused those mentioned in my most recent posts to contact me initially. What happened five years ago, and since then, as a result of my writing this blog, has now become part of the story. I quit writing here for a long time, for the most part, but lately returned to this blog as a place where I can write about my thoughts and feelings with respect to what has taken place in my life in the last few years, and more recently.

On September 28, 2014 I lost my brother Bill, and on January 15, 2015 I lost my mother. Neither of them should have died the way they did. My brother Bill, a schizophrenic, had his anti-psychotic medications cut, while he was in the hospital, by a doctor who had no experience with psychiatric patients, or their medication needs. To make matters worse, this doctor, and others, did not inform anyone in our family that this action had been taken. Needless to say, taking away a schizophrenic's medications, or altering the doses in any way, is of paramount importance. Without his medications Bill quit eating, walking, and otherwise doing the basic things a person has to do to survive. Simultaneously, my mother had had a stroke, and was recovering herself. Neither her, nor I, knew that this had happened to Bill, so nothing was done about it. We only learned of it after Bill's death, when we read the hospital medical reports. Those reports made it clear what had been done to him. My mother, who had returned home by that time, became incensed by the information and overwhelmed by grief after reading some of the reports. Within three days, she had a second stroke and was paralyzed on her entire right side. She could not walk or speak and died some 25 days later in a nursing home in San Luis Obispo. Before she had the second stroke, in the preceding three days, she wrote two poems about Bill, and drew a picture of his favorite hat. My mother was a fine writer and artist, and what I post below, and above (the hat drawing) is her last work.

about my oldest son, Bill, who died Sept. 28, 2014

                       The Hat
When you died I was in a health facility
Recovering from a long illness
When I finally came home
I had to become familiar again
With what now seemed alien and strange.
I walked through the house
Reminding myself of everything,
Walked into the living room,
And caught sight of your favorite hat
On top of a neat pile of hats
You had put on the coffee table
So you could easily pick a different one
When the mood struck you
Your favorite hat still has the shape of your head…
So familiar, so dear
And it seemed that at any moment
You might come in the door, smiling,
Carrying your bag of artwork as usual
I could see your hat, the plaid sweater you loved, your khaki shirt…
Always somehow looking stylish
Even if your clothes were old and not up-to-date
When you came in, you would always sit on the couch under the window,
Put your things on the coffee table,
And then perhaps change to a different hat…
As you so often used  to do to mark the day
A wave of sorrow swept over me
As it suddenly became real to me in my heart,
That you would never come again,
Nor would I ever again see you smile as you came in,
Nor could I ever watch you organize
Your thoughts and your things for the day
No; you are gone.
And yet your hat still sits waiting,
Not knowing you won’t come once more
And choose it from the pile
Not knowing that the world is now empty
Without you
                                                    Troy Farr, 12-19-2014         

the 2nd poem

Everything is just as you left it
Capturing a moment in time
When you thought you would be coming back
Your hats on the coffee table
Your tennis shoes and sandals underneath
And on the table, mementos you kept
A Route 66 Key chain
A sketch pad with an unfinished drawing
A notebook with things you looked at daily
Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws
Just the laws which I scanned and printed
For you, you like them so much
A selection of your own art
That was meaningful to you
Letters and keepsakes
Since you looked at this daily
Leaving it meant you thought you’d come back
But you didn’t, you couldn’t
Illness struck me first, and I couldn’t help
Then it struck you, and I couldn’t help
Two days before I came home you were gone
Now, seeing your things as you left them
Knowing you expected to come back
Knowing how temporary you thought your absence would be
Tears at my heart that I couldn’t help you
When you most needed it and I most wanted to
For the first time I wasn’t the master
Of my own life
How abandoned you must have felt!
How sad I feel to know that you were.
That I couldn’t help you
When you most needed it
And when I most wanted to help you