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The way things are . . .

The way things are is just the way things are. I'm becoming well-acquainted with the fact that there are completely opposing emotions and circumstances co-existing -- grief and loss - joy and blessings -- all at once. Part of what had my stomach in knots last month was my dad's transition from a place he'd lived and loved for the last 36 years to a new place. In his former (pre-dementia) mind, he was quite reluctant to fly -- and hadn't flown for almost 25 years. (Astute readers will remember that he used to be in the U.S. Air Force and the irony isn't lost on his four well-traveled daughters).

We were able to go see him a few days before my youngest sister flew in to arrange for his move and accompany him on his plane trip from Oklahoma City to Yakima, Washington. Our anxiety, fear and worry were for nothing.

Look closely and you might see his smile:

dadflightblog.jpg

We weren't prepared for and didn't expect his delight . . . his characteristic smile gives it away. (As is the nature of dementia, he doesn't remember the flight now).

Mom & Dad 1951

All of us are adjusting to the way things are right now and while we're sad about this stage of their lives, we're grateful our parents are still with us. I have a bad habit these days of over-sharing about the details that go along with this transition and about their condition, but the fact is, we have so much to be thankful for. Last year I was clueless about elder-care issues, but I've since learned about Medicare, Medicaid, military benefits, nursing homes. And then there's the kindness of strangers -- people on the other side of the phone or behind a desk who are willing to help; friends who sense the desperation and the needs and drop everything to offer help or a hug; sisters who reconnect with each other and put their own lives aside in order to get things done. For that, I'm willing to go through this.

Of course, there is still knitting and much more, but I had to get all of this written down for myself. Tomorrow I'll share about the yarn stores I visited while we were in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

It is not length of life, but depth of life. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Comments

Very BIG hug from me. Super happy to hear that his flight went smooth.

Good entry. Memory, or the lack of it, is a funny thing.

*hug*

Well, yes, love. Once you get through all the stress of figuring out and resettling and finding the new pattern to life, it becomes easier and easier to find the silver lining. A good friend said to me... you don't get over this, but you do get used to it. My Navy Captain dementia dad hated to be aboard ship, But we had a good cruise with him just before my mom died. Went to the bridge with the ship's captain and everything. It's a few years beyond that now, and he's in a constant loop, but he does find the beauty in everything. There's something very good about staying in the present tense and emptying your mind of everything but the now, which is what we have to do when we're with them. I get all my best knitting done with Dad, who reads and rereads and rereads and rereads the paper to me. Big hug.

It is hard taking care of our parents. You are in my thoughts.

Thank you for sharing. It's good to remember how much we have to be thankful for. Hugs.

((hugs)) Life is never what we expect it, is it?

Hugs, Janet! Beautiful post. Thank you.

Glad to hear that you're all adjusting well. It's heart-wrenching to see our parents age. It's something we can't stop, the only thing we can do is be there for them. Take care, Janet.

Oh hun, you are not oversharing. I'm sure your readers care about YOU, not just what you knit (I know I do). It's great that you've all come together to be supportive of one another and you're right - we are very lucky.

Oh Janet, what a beautiful post. As you know I can relate, however I don't think I ever put it quite so eloquently. Our past makes up so much of who we are, it's hard to see the ones we love forget. Thank you so much for sharing. Hang in there, you're doing a great job. Hugs to you and your family.

There is much sadness that comes with old age, but there are also beautiful memories. You and your father are in my thoughts today. x

I couldn't say it any better then what everybody else has already said. The photos of your mom and dad are so precious and cute, and how happy they look together! My dad is a social worker specializing in geriatric care and focuses on mental health and quality of life for those experiencing dimentia. Let me know if I can be of any help - I can always ask my Dad for your Dad!

oh, my heart goes out to you. That is a really hard place to be with your father.

If I can help by answering questions please e-mail me. I specialize in Geriatric physical therapy with Emory Healthcare at their Geriatric Hospital aka Wesley Woods here in Atlanta.

I love reading what you share, so share away! :) The picture of your parents is just too adorable.

What a lovely photo of your dad. I haven't personally dealt with this issue, but I've been close to many who have. My thoughts are with all of you.

Also: your blog...you choose the subject. I too like to know what's going on with my friends, semi-virtual or not.

Big (((HUGS)))

Just want to let you know you're in my thoughts today. Hugs and best wishes from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you for writing about your parents - I have been through similar experiences over the last few years and realize now how much it helps to share with others. Sending a big hug your way :)

What great photos of your parents! It is very difficult indeed to go through these transitions. It's wonderful that you and your sisters can work together to care for them.

I love the photo of your father looking out the window of the plane. I can imagine that it is very bittersweet for you.

((janet))

(I am sorry that I am just now catching up on reading your blog and am so late in commenting!)
Your father looks so happy in the plane! And I am happy for you all that he has been able to travel to WA.
I hope that now (a month later!) things have been going well for him and the rest of the family!

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