These are my thoughts. They are not meant to make sense. They are my echo into the woods. I am the tree that falls, and it is here that I make a sound.
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Friday, October 01, 2004
Fall here in Southern Ontario is a beautiful time. I remember every fall driving north of the city I grew up in, me and my dad, for about 15 minutes, coming to a farm called Baileys. They had wonderful apples, and in June you could go there strawberry picking. My maiden name is Bayley - an unusual spelling of a very common name. But my father would say, each and every time we went there, how we were family and maybe, just maybe, could we get that slice of pie for free? They would laugh and he would smile and just me and my dad would sit and have a wonderful slice of pie.

My father now is older, 67 this past June. He is everything you'd think a Grampa would be: receding grey hair, with a pot belly, wrinkles and gives the best hugs.

And for some reason I can't stop thinking he's going to leave me soon.

It occurs to me at the oddest times and it's a tragic sense of loss. I am dreading the mid-of-the-night phone call, like the one I got a few years ago when my mom's favourite younger brother died. She called and asked me to call my sisters and brother to pass on the news. I sit and wonder if she'd do that again, ask me to pass it on. I picture in rapid frame succession me driving up the 400 to their place, cutting 140 km/hr through the autumn night to see her, to hold her hand and to kiss my daddy goodbye.

It's so strange.

I'm happy lately. I'm productive, confident, sharp and focused.

And the foreshadow of my father's time left plays on my spine.

My father and I are much alike: I even wonder if he may be bipolar. I remember just before I was diagnosed how I was telling him about how my thoughts sometimes are like a cue ball hitting the break on a billiard table - one ball going off in fifteen different directions at once. Sometimes I can follow them all, sometimes they move too fast. He said he's exactly like that sometimes, that sometimes it's hard to catch all the thoughts flying through, ball to ball to ball. My father was also hospitalized, and when I think about it, it was when he was just a little older than I am now: it was in 1978 - he would have been 41 then, vs my near-36 now. That happened just after his father died. I can't remember how old my grandfather was.

I can't shake it though, this fear of him leaving. I try to switch roles (as morbid as that sounds), and put my mom in the same shoes, and I don't get the same sense of holding my breath, of my heart stopping. Sure, I would be upset, but I don't get the frantic freefall that thinking of my father that way does.

I wish I could get rid of this. I wish I could just tell myself he's fine and will be.

I wish this clarity of thought could remain on the warmth and brightness of this fine autumn I see unfolding around me. I am still up, happy and active. Except for this shadow.

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