Tempus Fugit – Bahamas Reflections on My Dad
Tempus Fugit is Latin for “time flies.” It was one of my Dad’s favourite sayings. My Dad didn’t just quote Latin, he read it. The man was brilliant. He was a walking encyclopedia…our Grandpa Google 🙂
At least, up until a few years ago – when dementia slowed his mind and weakened his memory. But he still managed to surprise us all with some one-line zingers every now and then. And he remembered who all of his kids were.
When I visited him in the care home in Linden, AB, more often than not he would open his eyes and a give me a big smile. Sometimes he would even say, “Maryanne!”
It was still HIM inside that old body and disintegrating brain.
But although he was comfortable, his quality of life wasn’t much to write home about. He slept most of the time. An avid reader all his life, he couldn’t read anymore…hadn’t been able to for a few years.
As much as I’ll miss him, it was definitely his time to go. And there is tremendous peace in that. His passing came as a relief – that brilliant and beautiful mind of his was free at last.
I am so thankful to have had the chance to say goodbye to him multiple times over the years. I knew every visit could be our last. So I always sang to him “our” song – the one he sang to me as a child: “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” Up until the last year, he would sing along 🙂
My Dad passed away peacefully on Feb 27th, surrounded by all my brothers and some of their spouses. I wasn’t there…at least not in body. But I was there in spirit.
And now, I am blessed to back in the Bahamas…a perfect place to reflect, think, write, rest, read, walk on the beach and swim in the sea.
The family I usually come to visit here – my Uncle Ted, who is my Dad’s youngest brother, and his wife, Sylvie – aren’t here this time, so it has definitely been more of a working trip than a vacation.
In fact, I’ve been writing up a storm here in this cozy little condo at Pineapple Fields in Eleuthera!
I’m back working on my book manuscript, Barrier Removed; a Tough Love Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. It is coming along swimmingly.
I am writing with clarity, focus and purpose. I know exactly what I have to do with this manuscript now – and I’m doing it.
It’s the darndest thing…for a guy who was so adamantly atheist, I swear my Dad is right here with me as I write, read, think and bask in the Bahamas beauty. But then again, I am my Father’s Daughter. To me, Heaven is a pile of good reading material, a beer, a beach and a story to write.
My Dad didn’t believe in Heaven, or any sort of afterlife for that matter – but if he could have designed a Heaven for himself, I reckon this would be pretty damn close.
Here in the Bahamas, I feel my Dad’s love…for me, for reading, for literature, for learning, for critical thought. But as relaxed and peaceful as I am here, I also feel a new sense of urgency about my writing.
It’s so easy to slip into thinking we have all the time in the world to do what we need to do. But we don’t. Our time here is finite. The death of a loved one is a good reminder of our own mortality.
And as difficult as it was for us to watch our Dad deal with dementia, it is also perhaps a gift of sorts…a gentle reminder about the importance of making great memories – and to treasure the fact that we can remember. For the day may come when we can’t.
Tempus Fugit. Carpe Diem. Seize the Day, friends. For time is indeed flying by.
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Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.