My dad jumped out of a plane and I have no right to object, I do not own him he is not my property, but object I did
My heart was frozen in time, I was expecting a call that he didn’t make it, I feared the worse, my skin visibly prickled, the hairs on my arms stood up like soldiers in a military band, lined up perfectly straight and tall when my brother rang, to give me the exciting news (exciting for them). Sadly it is who now I want to wrap up a dear one so nothing can harm, hurt or belittle them, I can see in my head as I’m writing, my dad struggling to breath and get out of the cocoon I wrap him up in. Reminding me of how mums many moons ago used to wrap their babies up tight in a soft square of cloth, one arm wrapped firmly over the other, so they could not move. I want to be there for him as you do your own children, as he probably wanted to do for us as we grew. I wonder often about his thoughts and feelings.
Now mine have abandoned the nest and build their own lives, I can reflect on what it must have felt like for my dad. I know he was furious when he found out I was kicked out of home. No regrets dad it is what it is. I now find myself restricted to weekly calls from one and am finding it is I who have to ring the other (unless they want something). But that’s okay I say to myself as the tide will turn as it should so all is well in my world except for dad wanting to jump out of a bloody plane.
Though now the tide has turned for me on dad, and it is I who wish to be there to
- Catch him if and when he falls (stumbles and denies it was him but an uneven path)
- Pick up his groceries (make sure he eats right)
- Tidy up his apartment (empty the ashtray, stack the papers)
- Pop in to see him with a surprise lunch (check he’s not sleeping all day long)
- Take him some dinner (so he doesn’t burn the place down)
- Drive him to where he needs to go (his driving is atrocious)
- Sit and listen to his stories (repeatedly, and love every cherished moment)
None of which I can do as we live in separate countries, It is such a long story of why I am here, I cry often but it is what it is, so we pick ourselves up and carry on pushing those thoughts and feelings aside.
Dad is near on 83 and for some unknown reason apart from his own inclinations, he decides that it’s time to relive that feeling of freedom from jumping out of a plane, as technology has made the jump nicer, apparently, than when he last did the deed back in the day of the army towards the end of the second world war (adrenalin rush I assume) Don’t blame you dad, I would to if I wasn’t a coward.
My brother text me to let me know what dad was up to
The conversation went something like this
‘Dads booking to jump out of a plane’.
‘Can’t he wait till I get there in July’?
‘No he wants to do it now’.
‘Well he’ll have to get a doctors certificate won’t he’, I say clutching at straws, or anything really.
‘No as long as he can bend his knees he’s good to go’.
‘What did your brothers have to say about it’.
‘They think it’s great’.
‘Bloody typical’, say I.
A week later I ring dad
‘Dad what’s the go with this jumping out of a plane’?
‘Waffle waffle waffle’, was all I heard.
‘You’ll need to pass a medical or at least speak to your doctor dad’.
‘No I’m good to go, the guy says, as long as I can bend my knees I’m good to go’, don’t you love how he can speak clearly when he has to.
‘Dad are you sure’?
‘Waffle waffle waffle’.
‘Well your face will be all flappy so get me a photo’, already resigned to the fact that I’m not going to talk him out of it.
‘Yeah righto dad’ x
The following week my wonderful brother rings me and says dad is in the plane and they are climbing to 13 thousand feet, any higher and they will need oxygen
Like that made me feel good, wondering if
- He was cold?
- Does he want to back out but won’t want to lose face?
- I said, “Did you get dad to wear a ski mask so his face will stay in one place then’?
- “Laughing, nope didn’t think of that’.
- Well of course he survived as did I and we have the photos to prove it.
This got me to thinking what it must feel like to know you may not have much time left in this world and that I selfishly may not have much time left to see him to sit with him, to smell him, to hear his rasping breathe, to ask after his health, to hear his voice, listen to his stories.
What’s he thinking, is he sad, reflective, grateful, tired, lonely, happy ?
I know one thing for sure, that I am lucky to have him even though I have to share him
Not sponsored in any shape way or form, but I do want to thank Skydive Auckland for looking after my dad so well x