I shall tend to your feet Pop

The other week-end I gave my Pop (dad) a pedicure. At almost 86, he has trouble bending down to tend to his feet.

I slowly removed his sandals and sat beside him on a small stool. He was worried that I would hurt my back by sitting this way….

Yours nails I cut carefully
and removed old skin
then massaged cream gently
along each of your feet

You thanked me for what you called a
‘laborious task’, to me it gave
me joy
to help see to the feet of my
father who was once a
little boy

As I massaged the cream
into your skin
I thought of where
your feet had been

These feet that were bare and told to stand in snow in a European Winter.
These feet that walked to the timber pile to chop wood for your step – father, the fire you were not allowed to be warmed by.

These feet that had to walk up the staircase where you were told to eat your meal, alone,  whilst the rest of the family ate downstairs in comfort at the table.

These feet that gave you the strength to escape from Czechoslavakia during the War, to cross mountains, hide on trains, trudge through forests, swim through rivers and nearly have your life ended twice by a gun held at you by the KGB.

These feet that brought you to Australia, to start a new life, to build a house for a family that you knew you would one day have, though you had no carpentry skills.

These feet that ran and played shuttlecock with us, the times that we went camping.

These feet that walked next to me on the day that I was wed.

These feet now older
that hold your struggling
legs and body
these feet are not a ‘laborious chore’
to me, my father

These feet have travelled many miles
through great adversity
saw you start a business
accomplish many things
I shall tend to your feet

as I love you
I shall tend again, again
and again

Pop

Below are two other posts, that I wrote last year about this amazing man I know as Pop, please click if you would like to read. https://ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/pop-my-dad-i-love-you/

https://ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/my-dad-affectionately-pop/ ‎

Taking The Time

I am elated, today I finished taking a video of my father giving me his life story from his early childhood up to when he came to Australia from Czechoslavakia.  He arrived here in 1951. Speaking in English with his Czech lilt and sometimes (but not often) pausing to remember details, he spoke over two sessions (over 2 days) the total being 4.5 hours.

We did have a break today in which I took them out to lunch at a nearby Cafe and we took a very slow and gentle walk along the strip of shops afterwards in the brilliant sunshine. Mum held dads hand I held his as the three of us ambled our way along the pavement. To see my parents now and remember them being able to walk in a brisk and sprightly manner made me a little downcast. Fortunately they are trying to keep their humour up by saying, “Don’t ever get old girl it’s a bugger”. To which I can only laugh my reply  “I’m on my way Pop”.

When I brought them back home, it was mums turn to tell me of her life in England, Rochdale where she grew up, she was quite panic-stricken before hand saying she had nothing she could say, or wouldn’t be able to remember, but it was magical to start the video rolling and to listen to her suddenly remembering her past.

This is a moment in history that I can hand down. My children’s children and theirs will be able to see them, hear them and listen to their life stories. I am so pleased I took the time and for them to agree. As this is my keepsake of them and for generations of our family to come.

Conclusion: If you can take the time to do this – please do, I am sure you will not regret it.

 

 

 

Capturing History

Tonight I had my parents over for dinner.

Mum is 83 dad is 85 years young.

The dinner was thoroughly enjoyed, but the best part of the evening was the beginning of history in the making.

I had decided to video them talking about their child-hood, and their lives before coming to Australia.

Dad escaped from (Czechoslavakia) as it was known then during the war. Though being captured a few times, held at gun point, almost shot by an SS guard, and endured and saw things that no one should have to in their life time, he managed to escape to England where he met my mother.

Dad spoke for an hour sometimes wavering in his thoughts and his memory and  next weekend we will continue his amazing journey before mum then talks about her life.

I wanted to capture not only their life but their voices and their faces, so that my children will remember them and their children and generations of our family to come.

Sometimes we think of doing these things and then it’s too late. The memory will sadly fade. Their great- great- great grandchildren, will not know them by voice, only by aged and yellow photos. They may hear the stories that will be handed down about what sort of life they led, but this way they will have a visual of who they were.

Our parents are to be loved, cherised and remembered.

Please seize the moments when you can.

**My Memoir – The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available through Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**