Sunday, April 18, 2010

Death and joy

My father is dying. It is a hard, good, natural, process. During this time to celebrate my Dad, I wrote a story. It is based on a true event that happened with my father. Enjoy.

The Light

I was a widow. I had three young children to raise, a home to care for and an uncertain future to face. My friends and family all gathered around to help me with my new challenges, yet I needed to know where I was headed and what I wanted to accomplish. So, I sat down and created "the list" which would be the director of my life for the next few years.

One of the major items on "the list" was to get light switches hooked up to the lights in each room of my unfinished basement. Each room in the basement, it it had any light, has a single bulb with a pull string. Basically I avoided the basement. I thought of it as black hole with no windows or light. Even during the day I would step from the light of the stairwell into the dark, and with each step, I would swing my arms in great sweeping arcs hoping my hand would come in contact with the pull string. I never failed to locate it, but a couple of times it was a near thing.

My father was a man who could fix most anything. He taught me how to fix my bike and how to fix a leaking faucet. He was my handyman hero. A long distance call convinced my Dad and my Mom to rescue me from my black hole. He sent me a list of what would be needed to put light and light switches into all the rooms of my basement. I went shopping and bought everything on the list.

Finally the day came when my Dad came to help me accomplish this great feat. We had two days to get it all done. Then my parents would need to return to their home and their lives. Mom agreed to watch the children upstairs while I became an electrician's apprentice downstairs. It was quite simple because there wasn't, as yet, ceilings, so we drilled holes, strung wires, put up new light fixtures. I then learned how to wire a circuit and connect light switches.

Once the first room was done, I flipped the switch up and down, up and down, just for the joy of seeing the light turn on and off. Then we tackled the second room, the third room and the fourth. Just one room left and it was time for my parents to leave. My Dad assured me that I knew what to do and how to do it. I knew how to wire a circuit and I would have a working light in that final room of my basement.

Later that day, while my children were playing with friends, I tackled the wiring of the last light and light switch. I checked my work. Yes, everything was correct. I had a complete circuit. I went to the light switch and flipped it up. Nothing happened. Down and up, down and up when the switch with the same result, no light.

Over the next four months, I would periodically go in to check my work, yet I could not determine what I had done wrong. Why wasn't there light in that last room? I just couldn't figure it out. That room became a symbol of failure. It was something to be ashamed of, something to avoid.

Months later my parents returned for a visit. I hadn't told my Dad about my failure until the moment of his return. I was so embarrassed. My Dad headed down stairs and I followed behind him about 10 minutes later. When I reached that last room, there was my Dad standing in a room filled with light. I gasped in amazement. What had I done wrong? What had he done to correct the problem? He just smiled, shrugged, and told me he had changed the light bulb.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it amazing that our fathers can help us solve those problems that we feel we otherwise couldn't, even if the answer may be so simple. Thankyou for sharing this story, Momma. I know Larry will want to read this one, so I will pass it on.
    May you find solace and comfort during this incredibly hard time. We love you so much and are grateful for the wonderful woman Grandpa helped make you become. Our hearts to Grandpa and Grandma.