Reaching the last stop
alica, a heart rending story for sure but tempered by the fact your father seemed content, he would go with the flow and had a loving daughter who dutifully visited until the end. not all the frail elderly have these plusses for their final destination. you should be proud of the care you gave your dad.
A natural, peaceful, cared for decline of life lovingly described. Thank you.
You captured the feel of nursing home life perfectly. I spent countless days in such places in the course of my work, but never became entirely accepting of the pureed food, the people nodding in their chairs. It's amazing to me that I know this environment very well, but never really believe this will happen to me. The denial of the people who go home at the end of the day is part of the culture of nursing home life.
I appreciate this honest, loving tribute. My comment is tangential, about your delayed plans to live each year for a few months, in a new city). In a similar situation some years ago I also set aside plans, in my case for international travel. Instead I treated myself several times a year to a two or three day visit to unfamiliar parts my home state. I learned about shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, forest fires the year of the Great Chicago Fire, the clearing of native forests in 50 years, and more. It was a simple respite, a time away at little cost.
A beautifully written tribute to your dad's resilience and acceptance of his fate. Tears sprang to my eyes at the lines, "This was his preferred spot. The warm sun coming in through the window made it a comfortable spot for contemplation or a nap." May each of us find a preferred spot that gives us peace. A member of my extended family stayed at Providence. It's a very special place.
Thank you Alice for the honesty in your writing which is so visceral, I can almost smell the food, and see the dear people lined up in their wheelchairs. How tender, too, your relationship with your father, and how very gracious his disposition.
Is there not a mind-body connection that helps the subject come to some equanimity with increasing limitation and physical frailty in advanced age? I hope so...to think of increasing hoards of advanced elderly raging against their aging corpora is a sad through, particularly as I begin the last quarter of my projected life expectancy.
Hi Alice, It sounds as if your father's faith may be comforting him as his body declines. In some ways, you are fortunate to spend time with him and he is fortunate to have you there. My husband was in memory care during the pandemic - visits were allowed only every couple of weeks - outdoors. He forgot who I was after the first visit. There is just no way that watching a loved move to that final destination can be anything but what it is - heartbreaking. Take care.
I’m not sure it was his final destination dear Alice. Your father lived more life than most of his cohort - with such bravery and faith. He inspired love and in your case, true devotion. I like to think of him continuing the adventure.
The final destination is so true of nursing homes. My mother said, "This will be it." And she was right of course. Thank you.
My mom, who has her faculties intact, lives in such a place in a very small town. The staff treat her like gold, the halls were once she herself was a nurse. She is accepting that this is her now and that she is blessed to have good people care for her. Conversation at her table is also stilted and I think she enjoys talking more with the staff. I drive there once a month and am greeted by cheerful faces who work hard to ensure that these final years have dignity and personal care. For that I am grateful. Bernie
So beautifully written, Alice, with a tremendous heart and emotion. I felt like I had been with you.
My worries for my own dad who still, as of today, lives independently at 92. He complains of getting tired when he mows the lawn or trims the shrubs…I explain…dad, it’s Florida for heaven’s sake.
We are fortunate that my sister currently lives with him as she lost her home ( less than a mile from his) during Hurricane Ian.
Hard to think about next steps…..but I think he has…..frequently says..‘I’ve had a good life.’