I’ve have been honored and blessed to get to spend time with my daddy in his last days. The community I work with has surrounded me with love and have stepped in to help with my students as I go through this process. It’s something I never thought I wanted to witness. But my daughter taught me, that while it’s painful to see a loved one aging and dying, it is also a blessing. Through watching her go through it, I am reminded that I still get to make memories; I still get to laugh and celebrate many moments.
Remember when your children were little, and you couldn’t wait to clap and cheer as they made their first steps, or ate their first solid food, or spoke for the first time? You and your spouse argue whether they said “mama” or “daddy” first? It’s like that. Each day we celebrate new things that we used to take for granted.
A good day for daddy this week was when he assisted with his getting in and out of bed. He had the energy, AND, most importantly he had a smile. He flirts with all the nurses. They ask for hugs and kisses, and he gives them back. That’s a celebration because he’s been sleeping so much and been so weak, he has hardly been able to hold his attention on anything.
Other celebrations, being able to feed yourself, being able to dance with your wheelchair to the beat of the music (even if it’s only rocking the chair back and forth. walking up and down the hail by scooting your wheelchair with your feet.
And music…music really is something that is appreciated by the elderly. They remember. They do! Sometimes it’s a finger tap or a toe tap…and sometimes, it’s a tear. But there’s a moment of remembrance…and those gray eyes twinkle for a moment. And even you are brought back to a moment in time…for me, it was this summer, getting lost with daddy in the car, when a four hour round trip became an eight hour round trip. We were headed for the coast…and got lost instead. I can’t ever remember being lost as so blissful…but it was just me and my daddy time…and it was perfect. We talked about just every day stuff…and it was good. Music can do that for you.
We’ve also gotten a chance to go for walks and see and hear the birds here. I saw my first red bird outside my daddy’s window this past winter. I remember he scooted his wheelchair with his feet to get a chance to see that bird…and though he couldn’t talk, his lips moved, and he “tweeted” again…which also reminded me of the summer which I wrote about before…they’re beautiful to listen to…their song like no other. Maybe I just hear things differently. I know that I see and feel things differently. I am blessed to make these memories with my daddy now…even though it’s a frail, broken body, ready for rest…there are still moments of beauty in our lives still waiting to be grasped. What is waiting for you?