The recent conditions of my parents

Today, for the last time, I turned the lock of the small suite my parents moved into nearly nine years ago. It’s empty – everything of theirs given away, sold, or piled into a spare bedroom at our house!

My father died more than a year ago. My mother had hip surgery in October and, unable to return to independent life, is waiting for a bed in the Personal Care Home on the other side of this complex. Yes, she’ll return to her beloved Donwood Manor, but never again to these two-and-a-half rooms, to these particular conditions.

Eugene Peterson speaks of “conditions” in the opening pages of his latest book (a memoir called The Pastor). He means the fact that his work — with the “immense mysteries” of God and souls — was carried out in place and time. Place and time in their most specific dimensions. There’s no avoiding the conditions, he says, and so he wants to be “mindful” of them.

Closing down my parents’ suite has pushed me into mindfulness also of the recent conditions of their lives. Continue reading