The Nursing Home

Dad has been accepted into Palm Terrace’s full term memory care facility for the remainder of his days on this planet. I meet this news with mixed feelings. Obviously I want him home because he is my Daddy and I love him and know he wants to be home. On the flip side, my lower back right now is shooting remembrances to me that it is growing increasingly difficult for me to care for him at home and I cannot live there and take care of him day and night. So, he will be looked after there and I will make frequent visits at various time to ensure that. Also, he is at the same facility he had rehabbed after his initial stroke, so they know me and more importantly they know him. So if he has to be away from his home he loves and his doggy he loves, he will know he is still loved and safe and I will bring his doggie in to visit when I go there. The weight of grief is bound in the mere fact of his decline in health, whereupon it is increasingly difficult to remember that this man while talking to neighbors on the lawn would hold one arm out for me to swing on for a quarter of an hour or more without breaking a sweat. This man who patiently taught this clumsy girl to ride a bike is the same who now can’t walk. This man who could sing so angelically can now barely speak. I am realizing that my process of grief is not confined to a wherabouts. And the other crazy going on in life and my friends’ lives compounds this grief and fries it up nice in a pan with a side of exhaustion. So, I am calling this season of life “Grief & Reef” because I have given myself up to the flow of grief mixed with the sheer blessing and beauty of new things happening in life alongside, like you are drowning in despair but look under the water and see a beautiful colorful reef with life. So things are leaving but things are coming too and the memories of a house filled with family celebrations with the absolutely best father God ever made are in the reef part. I can still see the beauty in my Daddy. I can still remember him bringing me and Tina home the perfect stuffed boodles (bear/poodle mixes) ever made that he picked out himself just because he loved us. And this shopping excursion in between a night shift job with overtime and the day farming. Just one example of his love. I would call home after moving away, and his first questions were always, “You need any money? You need anything?” I rarely ever needed his help but always loved that he asked me. I remember him giving someone from church a car because they needed one and “We only need one.” This was my Daddy. It still is. So, during my Grief and Reef time now, I will be as diligent as I can to focus on the life of the reef and save the grief for a coming storm. It is what has to happen.

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