Missing you

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I miss my Dad. I am blessed to still have him here with me but I miss him just the same. I am lucky to see the good parts of my Dad’s day. I love his dry sense of humor and his quick wit. But I miss him.

Today we had a quick visit. A good visit.  I was surprised to see him up and dressed for the day when I arrived around ten o’clock. We joked about Halloween and what his costume might be . We decided he would be dressed as a retired banker, a well dressed retired banker.

My sister got a nice long visit in a little bit later in the day and then all hell broke loose.

I have to commend my mom. She has done an incredible job shielding us from Dad’s sundown moments. We have had very few phone calls from my dad asking us to take him home. I have to admit that I was taking no news to be good news. Silly me!

I did not realize that dad was often confused as to who my mom was. I knew this happened but I thought we were in a good period. I now know that my mom has been dealing with his sundowning on her own.

Today my Dad was not himself. He said things he did not mean and he showed a side of himself that many of us did not recognize. I miss my Dad.

So what do you do when you are in public and dad has a complete come apart? Well, you do not reason with him. Have you ever reasoned with a two-year old? It is not possible. I can tell you that I made promises on the telephone today that I knew I would not be able to keep. You do not say “remember” because he does not remember. You do not correct his misinformation because he does not believe you and most likely he does not even know who you are. I miss my Dad.

I am thankful for our support system. I am thankful for police officers that are trained to help us navigate this road. I am thankful that my parents are not in their house on Norman Drive with six doors to the outside. I am thankful for our sitters that generally remain calm in a situation that is anything but calm. I am thankful that my sister took the brunt of it today because I would not have handled it as well as she did. I am thankful that my mom is stong enough to take his hurtful comments in stride . . . most of the time.

I miss my Dad and I wonder how long this will go on.

I am thankful for football. Football is calming to my dad. It takes him back to a time where he was in control of life. It provides him with hours of enjoyment and keeps his brain from wandering.

I am thankful and I am sad and I miss my Dad.

Life is Gift

tree-of-life-clipart-pvjy1j-clipartLife is gift. This is not a phrase I coined. To be honest, I am not really sure who said it first. We say “Life is Gift” a lot in my community.

Years ago there was a priest at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church named John Claypool. He preached thousands of sermons and wrote more books than I can name off the top of my head. He was a great man and many followed his work. John often talked about life being a gift and he was not wrong.

Life is a gift. Life is a birthday gift. Yesterday was my birthday and I received many gifts . . . I love gifts. Who doesn’t love a gift? I like small ones in shiny packages. I like big gifts that you cannot hold in your lap and I like gifts that are so big they will not fit in a box or even an oversized bag.

One of the many gifts I received yesterday was the gift of time. I am ALWAYS in a hurry. I have a long ‘to do’ list and a lot on my plate. I am super woman, at least in my own head, and I can do just about anything or at least anything I want to do.

Yesterday I told my parents that I was going to come by and visit. I alloted myself time to sit and visit and actually get some things done for my parents. I am the first to admit that I breeze in and out of my parent’s place. I run in, give hugs and kisses, pick up bills, have a short visit and then I am out the door. But not on my birthday!

I started my visit by searching through their storage bin in hopes of finding the book that we misplaced during the move over a year ago. Unfortunately it was not to be found yesterday. But after the search I sat and had a nice visit with my dad. He looked very dapper which is not unusual. My dad loves clothes and is generally a well dressed man!

We covered all of the important topics: SEC football, grandchildren and my days activities. We had a great visit. Mom arrived shortly there after and we continues to visit and I even opened a birthday gift. Before long the topic returned to my dad’s clothes. Every well dressed man needs new shoes and he had some but was not quite sure they were his style. As we discussed the possible trouser options, we moved to the room that we all refer to as his dressing room. It is really a second bedroom but it houses his clothes too.

Before I knew it we were cleaning out his closet. We laughed at the number of monogrammed dress shirts that he had and the endless supply of plaid shirts and striped shirts and polo shirts and the list goes on! We organized his blazers by season and moved the summer shirts to the back of the closet. We pulled sweaters out and tossed them to my mom to fold so they could be relocated to the closet. We laughed at expensive suits that he had had made that were no longer his taste. I am not sure they were ever his taste but dad likes to dress well and surely this look was in style . . . at the time.

If you had told me that I would spend ninety minutes cleaning out my dad’s closet on my birthday, I would have laughed in your face. After all, it was my day. A day all about me. But to be honest, cleaning out my dad’s closet was about me. It was about me and my dad and my mom.

We laughed and we talked and studied clothing with a sharp eye. If it was dirty it went to the cleaners. If it was torn it went in the trash. If it was useable but not wearable by my dad, it is off to the Goodwill. We laughed more yesterday then we had in a while. It was a normal day cleaning out my dad’s closet.

In his mind, we might have been cleaning out his closet so that he could gather the clothing that he ‘thinks’ is at other houses. But in my mind, we were enjoying life. Life is gift and yesterday it was an incredible gift to me.

Life is gift!