You haven’t heard from me in a while because in late November we had to admit my father into a nursing home and just three short weeks later the decision was made to bring in hospice services. He has declined rapidly. The triple threat of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and a nasty fall have taken their toll. On Thanksgiving he was still walking and eating, and now he is no longer able to stand or walk or feed himself. Most of the day his eyes are closed and he appears to be in his own world.
I have no way of knowing if Dad is comprehending all that has happened. I cannot know for sure whether or not he is at peace. But one thing is sure, this has been quite a learning opportunity for me!
Every day there are new opportunities for me to stretch and grow, forgive myself and others, learn acceptance, practice self-care, have faith, and love.
I’ve had to come to peace about our decision to bring him to this new environment. I’ve had to learn to let others care for him. I’ve had to forgive and accept those who can’t be with him very often or long. I’ve had to learn to forgive and accept myself when I occasionally need a day off. I’ve had to accept that he is in a different place physically, mentally, spiritually. I’m having to learn over and over again to trust that all is in divine order.
Currently my biggest challenges are the following two things:
1. Allowing myself to be sad without allowing all my self-care to go to pot. I am noticing that I’ve been using the stress and sadness as an excuse for eating poorly. I also haven’t been allowing myself the time I need to take long walks out in nature. However I am finally realizing that it serves no one if I let myself fall apart on too many levels. This is the time to practice exquisite self-care, while simultaneously being there for both parents.
2. Learning to trust that Dad is going through his own process and I can’t take that process away from him. For whatever reasons, this is Dad’s path right now. I can and will do whatever I can to make it easier for him, but I can’t take him away from this experience. We each have to face our own death at some point. Dad is doing it with as much grace as he can given his limitations.
The opportunities to grow and learn are infinite. And this is an accelerated class for sure.
May you all be well as you your live life to the fullest and, when the time comes, die with grace.