These are strange times. I often wonder, would any of this be any easier if it was NOT happening in 2020? I doubt it. There is just not a way for situations like this to be easy. As my grandma often said-growing old isn't for babies. It is hard work and heart break, just like most transitions, I suppose.
One of the most helpful things we have done in this journey with my dad and his health issues and surgeries this year has been to call in Hospice. They really do help make the burdens easier to bear. None of this is to say that I am giving up on him, on my dad, on a potential for miracles happening. I hope no one misunderstands this.
I stood by him in May of 2019 when he didn't want his foot amputated, even when it meant that I, Terri of the Squeamish Stomach, would have to learn how to dress and clean the gaping open wound that was still healing when he came to stay with us in the end of July of last year. I would do just about anything for him. I really would. I don't close the door on any possibilities, on God blessing him with another miracle, but the reality is that time is running out for that. Sometimes the answers we get are not the answers we want, and we need to face those too.
So now, I need to do other things for him, such as working with the manager of a local funeral home that is helping me to get my dad's military discharge papers. One of his benefits he is entitled to is a burial plot for himself and my mother. I need to be doing these things for him as well, since he can't do them for himself any more. That doesn't mean I am giving up on him, it just means I am caring for him through all the possibilities and outcomes.
As I move forward in multiple directions while still trying to love my fabulous father in the best ways I know how and in ways I am being guided through with professional help from doctors, nurses, and social workers, I hope that some how, some way my dad knows I am still doing my best for him. I hope everyone else knows and understands that too.
At first, I was tormented by the things left behind, the fresh groceries that rotted that week, the week that was just a blur. I had gone grocery shopping after work, we had settled in for our shows and supper, and then we never made it to bed that Friday night as we had to call for an ambulance, and he never made it back home, ever again.
Then I was tormented by the canned goods and snacks I had bought for his lunches, the sausages, the cookies, and snack cakes, and even the ice creams I had stored in the freezer. I don't like cherry anything, and there was a half gallon of cherry fudge untouched in the freezer waiting for him. It broke my heart every time I saw these things.
Happily, my brother took the canned sausages. He and my dad used to eat that same type of sausages out of the can as a snack when my brother was a toddler. They would eat tins of sardines together too. No accounting for tastes, what likes and dislikes you will inherit from your parents.
And, we did get to celebrate another birthday of my dad's, even with all the chaos of Covid-19 going on, and I had his favorite cherry fudge ice cream I could bring him.