I might have mentioned before that my Dad started building a lower patio last summer, and that a big part of the job is building a retaining wall around it. The purpose of the wall is to - well- retain, but it is also meant to be pretty in an English formal garden sort of way. He was about half done building it when he was diagnosed last fall. He has not been able to work on it much in the last twelve months, obviously.
One of the good things that came out of our visit this weekend (it sucked, mostly... see below) was that my brother, sister and I managed to get it through to my dad, loud and clear, that we would sell our organs to ensure that the house does not have to be sold. Ever. You see, my dad designed the house and worked side by side with the general contractor and the construction crew to build it. He built the deck, which includes a leaf design that I can't properly describe, and he built the dock and the the pathways to it with his own hands. Hammer, nails, lumber, a level.
My dad built our house, and now he is building this:
I didn't get a chance to talk to my dad yesterday, mostly because my step-mother was not answering the phone. I got lucky today, and my dad answered when I called.
"Hi Nina. How are you today?"
"Fine, Dad. How are you?"
"Oh, I am feeling pretty good, honey. I can't talk long though. I have my hands in a bucket full of mortar."
"You have WHAT?"
"Mortar. I am working on the wall."
"Yeah, well. I am going to work on it because I still can."
"Yeah. So, listen Dad, about this weekend..."
"Nina, honey, can we talk about this later? This mortar is starting to harden. I'll call you this afternoon."
"OK, good. I love you, honey."
"I love you, too."
I can't quite describe how I feel about this conversation. I feel better because he is having a good day and has not decided to sit in his deck chair and feel sorry himself. I feel worse because I just do. I can't imagine letting go of my dad.