The Twilight of Memory
“If in the twilight of memory, we should meet once more, we shall speak again together and you shall sing for me a deeper song.” Khalil Gibran
Am I going home today? He’s asked this question nearly every single day since he’s arrived. In those first few mornings, when I’d gone to wake him up, he’d also asked, what is this place? Where am I? How far away am I from home?
And yet, and yet, as we walk through the village, he points to a new restaurant and asks, what happened to the Greek restaurant that used to be there?
That place hasn’t been here in years. I wonder how he remembers that old hole-in-the-wall, but not his daughter’s house, a home he has visited many, many times.
Memory is a strange thing.
My father is with us for three weeks. I thought it would be a bit of a holiday for him. He wouldn’t have to worry about a single thing.
For me, his visit was an opportunity to look after him.
But it seems that this trip has destabilized him, played further havoc with his memory. He wonders out loud, how he’ll get home. He’s not convinced he has a flight home. Are you going to keep me here?
And don’t think I haven’t thought about it. As I said earlier, I want to take care of him, protect him, make sure he’s safe, perhaps make his life a little easier.
But is this the right thing for him?
At home, I have my memories, he says.
He used to love coming to Whistler. But I’ve screwed up. I’ve ignored how fragile his memory has become. I weep and think about changing his flight, taking him home.
Then he says, we need to go for lunch to that place we used to go when your mother was still with us. She loved that place. It’s in the forest, across from the grocery store.
His memory is back and thankfully that restaurant is still here. Yes, I say, we’ll go there tomorrow, Dad.
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