I’ve been hoping that at some point I could get myself together enough to put thoughts/words on “paper” (blog) about the last few months. I keep saying I’m going to…keep wanting to do it…keep making notes on pieces of paper about what I want to make sure I journal about and document for myself, my kids, my grandchildren.
I don’t want to forget the sweetness that the last few months (and especially the last few weeks) have held. But – every night I’m beyond exhausted and, quite frankly, I often can’t emotionally handle going back over the day. While the last few months have been sweet…they have also been some of the hardest days of my life.
The truth is….My dad is dying.
I can’t believe I can even type the words. I’ve spoken them (out loud) to a few people in my life. I’ve spoken with Tom, my mom and my brothers/extended family about the next steps…the process…the way things will play out. I’ve sometimes answered with “it’s really bad” to those that have asked. Sometimes I can get it out without even tearing up…but then just last night I sat in a KFC and wept over it as my sweet husband got up, came around to sit next to me, and just held me and let me cry (I’m pretty sure other customers thought we were breaking up or something). As hard as it’s been to SAY, and as weird as this may sound, to see it “in print” – looking at the words on this computer screen – the words seem so….final.
And so – I’m planning to go back…back to the day in January that Tom and I sat in my parent’s living room and had a tough conversation with my dad about us not wanting him to drive any more. We had dreaded the conversation for months and while HE made the decision on his own, he often commented that WE “took away his keys” (which he still carried in his pants pocket). While I reminded him of our concern for HIS safety, as well as everyone else on the road, he looked across the room at Tom and said, “Tom – you understand me, right? She doesn’t get it. I know that YOU understand what this means, as a man, that I no longer have any freedom and independence.” My sweet husband looked straight at him and said, “Yes, Jim – I do. It’s awful…and I’m so sorry. ”
It was, what one would call, “a moment”. The heaviness that had filled the room was removed by one man honoring the other with a deep respect and understanding. Looking back, I remember watching my dad’s face slowly drop and sadness came over me as the reality of our roles changing became more evident. While my parents have needed more and more help and attention, we were officially in the “Parenting your Parents” phase of life…and I wasn’t a fan.
Without any thought (and I believe TOTALLY under the direction of the Holy Spirit), I opened my mouth and heard myself say, “What if I came over every….let’s say, Thursday afternoon? I could come and pick you up and drive you ANYWHERE you wanted to go. I could be like your personal driver for a few hours. Would that be helpful/make this better?”
I’ll never forget his sweet face popping up, his famous “Lynn Grin” appearing and he said, “That would be GREAT!”
Then reality hit and he added, “But, how can you do that with work?”
(Gulp…ummm…I had no idea!)
Again…no thought…just my immediate response – “I’ll work it out – you are worth it.”
His sweet face lit up and he said, “It’s a DATE! And I know just what I want to do!”
A few days later (after a conversation with my awesome, understanding boss…thanks Eric!), I headed to my parents for my first “Date with Dad” (as it’s known on my calendar). I’ve had to do some shifting of my priorities and work schedule, but as I look back over the last few months, my only regret is that I didn’t suggest this and start “Dating my Dad” years ago.
It was 2pm on January 28, 2016.
Our first date was…
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