Stone lets himself in the front door early in the morning.  He flows into a well-developed routine, grooming my father for the day — lacing his shoes, combing his hair, setting out pills, adding or subtracting his glasses.  After my father has made an exhausting trip across the board which bridges wheelchair and bed, Stone clasps him with a gentlemanly, affectionate pat; one that says  I’m here. To the end.  Whatever it takes.  I’ve got your back.

Stone moves silently through the chores of living.  There is no chatter to take an edge off awkwardness.  Only a side by side ease of presence between them that time has built.  The man caring for my father as he loses his voice has already lost his own.

Adolphus is his elegant given name, and it suits him well.  But Stone is the name by which people know him – for indeed his face is chiseled, is stoic and silent, contained and timeless – until, that is, it breaks open into a grin and light gushes forth as water from a stone.

It may be that his military experience prepared him for the orderliness my father demands.  Or his days as a chef prepared him to arrange the occasional meal.  But it’s his to-the-mat battle with throat cancer that has made him a rock-solid care-giver.  Having fought for his life, months on end, through the cruelty of chemo, he came out of it mercifully alive, but without the sound of his own voice.  Like Jacob who fought all night with a dark angel and lived, though with a limp.  Like all of us who face our demons and emerge, marked for life.

Stone knows the deep trenches where my father finds himself.  Words are not really needed there.  More important is the presence of a fellow soldier who has got your back.  One day, they will both be silent; all words trickled out.  There will be nothing else to say.   And yet, and yet . . . this silence, held between them, strong as stone itself.


~ by Susan on 06/26/2010.

3 Responses to “Adolphus.(L.)Stone”

  1. Beautiful prose, beautiful man —

  2. Praise be for the Stones in our lives, and for this A.L.Stone in particular. Love his giddy smile, your lovely tribute, and this ode to the rock-solid work of holding one another up. Amen Sister.

  3. I am so touched by your beautiful message, Susan.

    Your parents have meant much to our family. Our hearts reach out to you. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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