I have been thinking of my folks today as I read a text from my oldest sister of another one of the antics of my parents at home. I want to say antics because it masks their reality of getting older. Instead of me being true to the situation and accepting what is that their health is declining. This is not what they signed up for. Oddly enough, I am thinking of that Skype conversation I had with my dad last week. He took me up to his bedroom to talk (thank the Lord for iPads) and I could see he was tired and worn. Made a joke saying that he is not as strong as he described how mom was getting harder to carry (do not say that to mom dad- just saying). Looking at him, I saw sadness in his face as he shared with me that he did not see this coming. He and mom planned to do a bit of travelling, bothering us (haha), going to different places and seeing friends. When he began his thought with “Well…” and did not finish, I hurt for him in that moment.
I do realize that I am being selfish here because there are so many people who do not have a mother or a father in their lives as they have long since passed. And I pray for them. But in my world this day, blessed with parents still living, I am once again reminded of the preciousness of life. Over the passed year or so, a significant decline in their health has been evident as my sister sends details of the ‘antics’ of what has been going on (like today). Appreciated C. Last year, she and her hubby, bless their hearts, bought a house with the folks, and have taken on the role of caregiver. For that I am eternally grateful for. (That is a whole other conversation for another time.)
But, boy it sucks big time; yes I said sucks because it does. I tear up because I know that life given to us is fragile and a gift. The human body is such a miracle of creation in itself, put together, functioning its parts in ways that are indescribable as witnessed three weeks ago when holding my newborn granddaughter in my arms…unbelievable joy to be hold. Now my folks are at the other end of the stage of life, where a body grows old and tired and sometimes brings more complicated health issues. My mother has been diagnosed with dementia, an invisible kind of disease that slowly takes her away, both physically and mentally, from the person we know her to be. And my dad, oh my dad, a man that has beat cancer, has to watch his wife slowly become someone he is not used to being with (it is the only way I can describe it right now) and who has not ever taken on a role of caregiver. Patience is a virtue and my dad, well lets just say…nope. Dad will always be a Mr. Fix it kind of guy, full tilt and little pause. My mom, on the other hand, has always taken on the role, so generously and patiently, of caregiver for all. But now, if she really knew what was going on with her and her behaviour (for I do not know if she does), it would be such an indignity to her. It is not mom. And to all of this, I feel a great sadness deep in my heart for her and dad.
One feels lost, walking in a wilderness, not knowing what is before you. That is how I feel with my folks right now. Lost and helpless. I know they are taken care of as my sister is ferocious in her demeanour. She is kind of like my dad in a way and works to make things work. Goodness help their household (just kidding C). I know that worrying is not going to solve anything (but feeling sorry for myself and worrying too – yeah I am going to for a moment or three). But in the end, I believe God is here, holding my folks gently. They are not alone and however I can help…ask. I always try to see the good in things that are happening. One of my favourite mantras to my girls is “its all good” so somehow I have to find the good. Humour helps. A bit of wit in times of yuckiness (is that a word??) and this is muddy up to the neck. So thinking of my folks today and their antics now and beyond, I have to smile with love (or I will tear up which ever comes first). It is not a funny time but it is my folks reality now and getting my head around it. Holding on to my sister saying,”I got this. Not. But I got this”. Yes you do C.
Pondering for the day – With thoughts of gratitude and hope those who struggle with health and well being with their loved ones near or far, may strength and courage be given to you this day and know you are not alone.