The last six months have been a constant
series of challenges. Caring for elderly
parents requires a flexibility that is often
all consuming. Seeing those we love in
and out of the hospital was quite painful.
Yet transitioning Frank's Mother into the
Hospice House was ultimately a gift from
God. Even so, the finality of one's dearest
departing has more than been difficult to
accept. Layer on top of it the disruption
at Mom's funeral and it's still continuing
repercussions and trust me... all of us who
are left behind are spinning and exhausted.
So, where do we go from here? With an
almost ninety eight year old who is still
functioning rather well under our care -
we're all trying to get back in the groove.
The problem is, most of us can't quite
remember exactly what "normal" is.
Last night Frank and I spent a quiet
evening at home. Our first in MONTHS.
And while there is joy in said solitude,
we're still living on the edge. Waiting.
Watching. Worried. Part of us wants to
escape somewhere far away (with no cell
or internet service.) Yet that's not possible.
In theory, we're at a point in our lives
where we've little to no responsibility.
However for folks our age, our parents
are just that. Having spent these past
years sharing in their caring has been
most beneficial. Honestly, we wouldn't
want it any other way. If nothing else,
we've no regrets. We both treasure the
intimacy that said responsibility has
fostered. By the time my parents were
gone, I knew them better than ever. As
does Frank know his now. Being that
close makes saying goodbye easier.
Twenty four seven
I've often said that a phone call can
suddenly change your life. Frank and
his two siblings know that all too well.
Hence we really can't be lulled into a
sense of complacency. Rather we've
got to be vigilant, watching for signs
of the next stage. Thus putting our
needs on hold until this final chapter
finally ends. Rather than cruising the
world, we will stay close to home.
Instead of running away we're going
to cherish every moment we've got
left with the one we love.
From here to there
As one's parents slowly decline they
develop a sense of peace that passeth
all understanding. When one loses
the other, said resolve helps dissuade
the pain. For the children of those
lost comes a depth of wisdom that
enables them to navigate the highs
and lows of aging parents. And all
of a sudden, we achieve a new level
of maturity. We innately realign our
priorities - putting our lives on hold.
Thus while many diversions beckon
we innately know what we must do.
Hence we're finding our way through
what can only be termed a period of
transition. Oddly the most mundane
of tasks comfort. Yesterday Frank
puttered in the yard while I prepared
dinner. As I watched him through the
kitchen window, my heart was filled
with love for this man with whom
I've shared twenty years. No matter
what happens, we're beyond blessed.
And so, we will slowly regain our
rhythm in life's symphony. As long
as we have each other - we're fine.
Going my way?
Ultimately this too shall pass. It's amazing
how adaptable we humans are. At almost
ninety eight and post losing his wife of
seventy years - Dad is slowly embracing
his new normal. His wisdom gained from
a lifetime continues to inspire. Therefore
we must be patient and enjoy whatever
time we have with him. Yesterday that
was a drive and dinner. In reality it was
nothing special. Yet our time together
was beyond special. We simply enjoyed
each other's company. And what could be
more "normal" than that? Tempus fugit!