There are ten thousand things I would rather be doing than what I am doing right now. Looking through literally hundreds of personal files and photographs is both interesting and heart-rending. The most poignant from today was a birthday card my mom gave my dad in 2013.
It reads: “To my Husband. We’ve shared so much since we were married – our plans, our work, our fun, and every day I’ve found new reasons to love you… Even the challenges we’ve faced have made me realize how strong our relationship is, and how much happiness you’ve brought to my life. And I want you to know I’ll only love you more as the years go by.” She added, “Our love will be ‘eternally’.” Jo”
Then, in 2014 she added the note “I still love you.” And in a weakening hand in 2015, “Sweeter as the years go by!!!! Love u more.” In 2016 she added, “Nothing has changed except I love you even more! No other person in this world could have been as good to me as you have!!! We will be together FOREVER (Thank the Lord). Yours, Jo.”
I have no idea what to do with that card. Perhaps it would bring them joy; perhaps pain. So, like so many other things, I leave it in the envelope on his desk and wait for guidance.
Today my dad said that he had no idea how much my mom depended on him. She looks for him whenever she awakens from her frequent naps, and if he is not there she goes to find him. She is his constant companion, and he hers.
He does his best to keep her as strong and healthy as possible. He encourages her to eat when she is not particularly hungry, to drink more fluids, to walk even though he cannot yet walk with her. He keeps his eye on her to make sure she is safe and doesn’t fall, even though it is he in most danger of falling.
Dad isn’t supposed to stand without someone to support him. The stroke affected the stability of his left knee and he loses his balance if his weight shifts back to his heels. However, as I left them this evening, he stood up carefully from his wheelchair, wobbled just a bit, and took my hand with a firm grip to say, “Thank you for everything you are doing for us.”
I signed out and made it to my truck.
Follow the story from the beginning. Previous posts:
Elder Parents: The Journey Begins
Elder Parents Journey: Making Plans
Elder Parents Journey: Heart of the House
Elder Parents Journey: Meeting House
Elder Parents Journey: Spirit of the Land