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?
My mother likes to explain that, when her brood was young (long before Monday holidays rearranged our calendars), many of us thought that Washington’s birthday was a holiday only because is was my father’s birthday–and therefore a holiday just for him. If it were up to me, we’d still be celebrating my father’s birthday every year as a national holiday. As a matter of fact, we’d celebrate in grand style. There would be pageantry: dancing girls and horses with plumes, in the way he once requested. He’d get quite a kick out of it, I know. Particularly those dancing girls.
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 parents, children and care of aging parents, eldercare, fathers and daughters, loss of parent
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.
We’re in the homestretch of moving my mother to a new assisted living apartment. It has taken six weeks, sheaves of paperwork, many friends and angels, on-site contributions from five siblings and the distant emotional support of four other brothers and sisters. For their part, my parents have presented an iron will throughout it all, a strength that continues to bind them despite their physical separation.
Our goal is in site. Tomorrow, my mother will once again reside within the same walls of my father’s rehab and long-term care facility, as closely reunited as possible, if not in the same bed. Perhaps time will draw them closer; perhaps not. Their journey will not end with this move. It is a new beginning, yet another adventure. Throughout their years together, my parents have traveled extensively by car, by van, in a trailer, by boat. I think now of the bright yellow hazard signs posted on mountain highways we once wandered: “Beware of falling rocks.” Who knows what lies ahead.
Posted in A Bridge Between, On Aging Parents
Tagged #aBridgeBetween, a bridge between, adult children of aging parents, aging parents, assisted living, children and care of aging parents, eldercare, family relationships, quality of life for the elderly, the psychology of aging