For several days in a row I arrived at the Care Facility where my father is resident only to find him asleep. Soundly asleep. Or so "somewhere else" that although he could call me by name, it was not clear whether he was talking to his daughter, his wife, or his mother. One day we sat in the Community Room while he watched TV. More correctly, he ooggled the woman riding her English Bull Dog around on a skateboard. The dog was on the skateboard. The woman was on the other end of the leash. My presence seemed pointless.
Then the nurses pointed out that on many afternoons he waits, sometimes impatiently, for my arrival. When I do not get there, they have to make up stories as to why I have not arrived.
Very occasionally there are days like yesterday. It was time for me to leave. I gave him my usual line. "Need to take your laundry home and put it in the washing machine."
"Does anyone help you with that?" he asked. "It's not fair to make you do it all."
Nobody else asked for the job. I volunteered. But it is awkward when you have only a solar dryer (aka clothesline) and the weather is wet and rainy.
Then, out of the clear blue sky, he asked, "Are you OK? Are you content with where you are?"
Not really, but you do what you must. He's confined in that nursing home, and it is unreasonable to think he will ever again live anywhere else. But he's not dead, either. Mother can no longer live safely by herself. Ian and Meda have their own busy lives built around each other. Likewise my children.
I would be happier if my mother were living in MY home. I would be happier if I had some of those security blankets we come to depend on -- my CD and video collection (did I ever think I would hear myself say that????), my guitar (a piano is unreasonable), my entire genealogical library ... half a house all by itself! My own kitchen, complete with microwave, crock pot, and a toaster/oven that is big enough to do more than make toast. Life without cockroaches. Space to sew, to be myself. My own desk
But those things are not happening. There will be a time and place for them once again. Now is not the time. I don't know whether Hawaii is the place.
Thank you, Daddy, for remembering to ask. Thank you for caring. I need to slide that simple question in amongst the memories of all the bastardly things you have done in your lifetime, to add some balance.
Don't forget to pray ....