Body hugging, slim fit, tear-away sides… my browser history looked like I was researching sexy lingerie, especially when I got to the strap–ons. If only that were the case. Not so lucky, I was on the hunt for the best incontinence products available. That’s when I realized, we’ve crested the hill. We’ve been pedaling diligently up a long, slow grade and now we’re on the downside. But we’ll enjoy the ride as long as we can, even if we’re just coasting along. Now, where can I order some tassels for those handlebars?
A Bridge Between(Original verse written 1967 October 22 by Carlo A. Pola. Notations by the 8th child.)
A word, a laugh, a tearIn those final hours, we gathered and chatted and smiled and cried.
A way back when
He was there for us, always,
A helping hand now and thenand as he’d cared for us, so did we for him.
An attentive ear to youth’s hopes and fearI spoke softly to him, stroked his hair and held his hand.
A father’s yes to a child’s requestNo questions left to answer, God’s will alone would rule.
It is just over 12 hours since my father has passed from this earth. It’s been a time full of phone calls and discussions held with family, friends and Facebook. The outpouring is overwhelming. When this time passes and his death is no longer immediate, I ask myself, what is it about him I will miss the most?
I’ll feel his loss a million ways, of course. I’ll miss that strong jaw, his practical manner and calm demeanor and, especially, the way we grew closer as his body grew weaker. I will see shadows of him everywhere, and every corner of my life will feel the void. But what I’ll miss most is the privilege of witnessing the love he showered upon my mother, a love incomparable. It was unmistakable, intangible, a force of nature: the way he looked at her, the way he loved her. But it was visible, as well, and evident to all who met them. It shone in the way they held hands, in a soft goodbye kiss or when they’d reach for one another in times of stress. I am so much the better for witnessing this love. I am a product of it. I will hold it in my heart forever and bask in its afterglow like a sunset well remembered.
The silent stroke that robbed my father of his ability to walk has also forced my parents into separate beds in distant towns. My father’s memory loss means he does not always remember the “why” of it all. I fear for him in this new time and place; it twists my belly into knots. What must it be like to not know exactly where you live and why you are there? I want him to feel grounded not abandoned and to assure that he feels only comfort and peace. We speak about this new reality, over and over. And then again. There is frustration; there are tears. And still, there are moments of tenderness and love.
The last week has brought wind and rain, deep milky fog and powerful thunderstorms that shrouded the skies in darkness. Yes, that was the weather, but it aptly describes my moods–my life–as well. A journey of transitions: some gradual, some abrupt, none avoidable. These times they are a’changing as the saying goes.
Each morning, I find respite in that first-of-the-day walk with the dog. It may be brief, but it is precious. It is the meditation for which I don’t otherwise find the time. Bless you, my furry friend, for distracting me from my troubled thoughts. Thank you for your attention to the flowers in the yard, the bird on an overhead wire.
Posted in A Bridge Between, A Glimpse of the 8th Child, Fathers and Daughters, On Aging Parents, The Story of 'A Bridge Between'
Tagged #aBridgeBetween, adult children of aging parents, Aging, aging parents, caregiving, elder health care, eldercare, Seniors Facing Loss