This a blog about life and times—-and life is defined by the changes you go through.
Weeks earlier, spring had come to the midwest. Snow had receded, the few warmer than average days, produced Red Buds beginning to show color as were some of the other trees. Greenery, was in the woods, the May Apples are appearing, Blood Root and Trillium. Today however, is gray, it had rained in the night, and mist still hung in the air, a hint of more rain existed. The temperature was falling, the north wind cut through you as if it had just left the polar ice cap. This is not a day that bodes hope and happiness.
Life is defined by the changes you go through; your first steps, your first words. your first solo drive, a graduation, a job, marriage, and raising your children.
Three of the four children had made the 9:30 arrival time, along with two grandchildren and a couple of the son-in-laws. Years ago the ever-present pocket protector and five assorted pencils and pens had been traded in for retirement. Death had taken his spouse, and the children, for his own safety had taken away the car and sold the house. The last few years have been spent existing in two rooms of an assisted living facility, surrounded by mementos of a more active person; WWII Navy life, books long ago left unread, awards and furniture shared by previous family members-safety.
It was just 24 hours ago that he was told that everyone would be coming today. They would help him move to a new place. He looked around, “I like this place”. He had lost his three bedroom home for these two rooms, and now, he would be going to a 10X10 room. No, he couldn’t take that, there wouldn’t be room, no, dad, not that either. There is room for your chair, and your chest, yes we’ll take these pictures and your clothes. No, we’re not giving this away, the kids are coming, to take your things, to keep them-to store them for you. The stroke had taken his articulate speech in 1988, a PhD in Education, today it’s point and mumble one or two words.
Today; today, he sits and watches as the kids pack his clothes, “Ou bout that?” He points, no, dad we can’t take that. Most days are relegated to using the walker to travel to the dining hall, then returning to lay in the bed and await the next trip to the dining hall. At the new place the last child arrives, his pictures are on the wall, his chair and chest are in place and a new TV-DVD, is set in place. The girls, bring their father in the room, tears streaming from their eyes, this is the Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s unit, you can read their eyes, it’s as if they’ve lost the dad they’ve always known. Yes, he has days of coherency, and this is one, but they appear to number less than those other days. It’s those ‘other’ days that have caused him to be here, when ability to survive on his own is questionable, and the wandering away from his unsecured facility is a constant concern.
I said life is defined by the changes you go through, but no, that is wrong. This life is measured by the changes you go through.
Part of your life is spent defining who you are…..the other part of life is spent giving it all back. Everyone gave back some today.
Mulberry–RFD, dad began life near here, most of his family was born, raised, worked and is buried near here. It’s the measure of life. It’s like he’s returning home.
The temperature is still dropping, the rain has bits of slush in it, It’s been a long, long day, and no, there wasn’t hope nor happiness in today.