That’s all that matters.

Earlier this week, a few of the kids and myself were watching videos of mom that we took in the months before she passed. I wish I had videos of her when she was younger, before she wound up in a wheelchair.

While we were watching the videos, we were all snickering at certain things that were going on, the looks on our faces, the tones of voice used, but most of all, we noticed mom.

Her last few months, she was miserable.

There was nothing to comfort her, nothing to make her feel better, nothing to make her life more comfortable.

She literally called for one of us every 5 minutes. We timed it.

“What time is it?”, “What time do I take my medicine?”, “I’m burning up”, which would soon followed by “I’m freezing”.

All questions and statements that were uttered dozens of times a day…

I was sitting there listening to the video, one where we were putting her to bed and she was fussing at s that we weren’t doing it right, and I was thinking, how much of a pain it was to deal with the constant fussing and yelling. But also thinking how much I would love to do it again.

I miss her tremendously.

But that is on me.

She is finally happy.

That’s the part that matters.

Nope, never heard of it.

My dad was a minister for over 65 years. He has Pastored many churches, preached more sermons than anyone could even count. His faith has always been his life. Always. Never too far from his Bible, never to shy to say a word of prayer no matter where the location or what the occasion.

Today he has had a rough day. He’s been agitated, nervous and just basically on edge since about 2:30 am. At one point today, Stud was sitting with dad in the living room and found The Bible on tv. He switched the channel over and saw they were to the part of the Bible where Samson pushes the pillars down.

Stud is telling dad about it, pointing to the TV, telling dad “look, Samson is about to push down the pillars!  You remember that story don’t you?”

Dad looks at him and says,” I haven’t ever heard of that, never read that in my Bible. The only time I ever read my Bible is when I’m preaching!”

Stud just gave up  at that point.

I walked out of the room and busted out laughing.

If you knew my dad, if you knew how serious he is about his faith, then you would know…

All of my life he has always, if he wasn’t working, he was studying. If he wasn’t preaching, he was studying. If he wasn’t too sick, asleep or otherwise engaged… he was studying.

While others might not find the statement he made funny, when I told some of my family the story, they too busted out laughing.

We know that the dad we know, we love, we grew up with, was never more than a few feet away from his Bible. If there was a church service somewhere and he knew about it, he was there. I have seen months, maybe even years where he preached 7 days a week, and sometimes more than once a day. His Bible was his right hand.

Yes we laughed.

And we probably will laugh again.

One month down

It’s been a month today.

Dad asked me today if I thought mom had her angel wings yet. I told him I thought she got them as soon as she walked through Heaven’s gates.

We are going ok.

I know she is so much better off, she is whole again, she is well, she is perfect.

But there are some days the need to just hold her hand is so strong. Some days I can almost hear her call my name, and others I would give all I own to actually hear it aloud.

For the most part, my siblings are settling down.

One brother has been fantastic. He and his wife have been so supportive and there for us no matter what. They came and stayed 24 hrs at a time to be with mom before she passed. They stayed up all night talking with dad, keeping him occupied, and just sitting with me and mom chatting, singing, and helping to soothe her.

The others, well… one brother came several times the last week mom was alive. He got to talk to her, laugh with her and sing with her.

Two brothers and one sister did not come at all.

One sister came, unfortunately she was a day late to be able to talk and communicate with mom before she lost lucidity. She wasn’t able to have her moment. It’s killing her now.  She asked one of mom’s life long friends to “be my mommy” now that mom is gone. She even asked permission to call the other woman mama. Then she calls dad and tells him what she did.

I don’t understand.

I guess guilt and regrets can do that to you.

She will never be able to make up the lost time with mom. She isn’t doing such a good job spending time with dad either. She hasn’t been to visit since mom passed, and while she calls a couple of times a week, she mainly complains to him about how she misses mom and cause him so much distress. He is always highly agitated after speaking to her on the phone. It upsets him immensely to talk to her.

Dad spends his time lost inside his mind now, he is living in the 1940’s in a time before he married mom. Its his safe place. It doesn’t hurt there. He doesn’t feel the pain or the loneliness of being a widower. In his mind it is a time of war between the countries, but its not a war between his heart and mind. His mind won out on this one to protect his heart.

I don’t blame him.

Just one more

Ever since mom passed away, dad has been stuck in WW2. Every morning he gets up, looks out the windows to check for enemy troops. Every meal he asks if the soldiers have been fed before he will eat a bite. He talks about trying to decide if he is going to re-up or not.

One day this week, he had a dr appt, and youngest told him he heard through the grapevine they were calling a truce and the fighting would be over by the time we got home and that all the soldiers would be cleaned up and cleared out. I thought he was kind of grasping at straws at telling dad that, but it worked!

Just like that, he was out of WW2. He was back on American soil, but still in his early 20s.

The problem with that is, since 4am, we have been having to chase him and keep him from walking off. He has decided that he is going home, he’s tired of “visiting” us and is going to walk over the ridge to his home. Earlier today he made it outside, with one of the boys following him to make sure he was safe, and he refused to come inside. So I put him in the car and told him I would drive him home, but only if he could give me directions.

Of course he wasn’t able to, after all, our starting point was home.

We rode around, went to McDonald’s and got some sweet tea then headed home.

That worked for about 30 minutes then he was ready to leave again.

This has went on all day.

Tonight, dad got out of his recliner, put on his shoe, and coat and was headed to the door again. I tried reasoning with him, which is a futile exercise, and got no where. Stud came in the room and told dad he couldn’t go outside because it wasn’t safe. Dad asked why? Stud’s reply?

The fighting has started back.

Just like that, we are back in WW2.

We decided we could deal with the talk of war and fighting much better than we could risk him getting past one of us and walking off. We have a bed alarm and a chair alarm, but what if it malfunctioned and we didn’t hear him?

For our own peace of mind, it is better to let him think there is war going on outside than for him to think it is safe for him to head to where ever he thinks his home is.

I think that I am going to take him on a little trip tomorrow, show him his birth place, and let him see it one last time. We will visit the family cemetery where most of his family is buried. And hopefully it will settle him a bit. Calm him in a way that nothing has been able to calm him as of yet.

Hopefully.

Or it just might stir up a whole new disturbance and we will have to find a new remedy.

I have no idea how it will turn out, but I know that its been bearing on me for a few weeks to take him “home”.  To his family land. They no longer own it, but its his heritage. Its where he grew up, dirt poor, son of a moonshiner. He needs to see it one last time.

Clueless

I hate hearing the phone ring.

One of my siblings is driving us nuts.

She admitted to me today that she feels jealous because I “got” to take care of mom and dad, and it made her jealous of all the time I get to spend with them. She made a scene at the funeral, getting up in front of everyone and telling them she didn’t know her mom and now it was too late. I won’t go in to details but it was bad, those of us that know her and the situation, were embarrassed for her. There were about 15 minutes of excruciating drama that she brought on herself.  All because she was jealous that she didn’t chose to know her parents.

She has no clue.

She honestly has no clue.

She asked me tonight when dad will go back to being her daddy again. Really?  Are you that clueless? I mean come on…..

I told her never. That he would never go back to being the dad that we know and love, that we just have to love the one he is now.

Yes, I took the high road.

I wanted to scream at her.

I wanted to yell at her.

I wanted to tell her that if she hadn’t been so selfish for the past 15 years then she could have helped with the care of mom and dad.

I wanted to tell her that she chose to not have anything to do with them.

I wanted to tell her that many times she pushed me to put them in a nursing home.

I wanted to tell her that if left up to her, they would probably have wasted away in a home many, many years before because she didn’t have the time to pay attention to their needs.

I wanted to tel her that no, she didn’t know her mother, because any time she called she would only speak to dad. Anytime she visited it was because she was having some life crisis and needed a place to crash for a while. That she has been so wrapped up in her own life, she forgot that our parents were slowly fading away.

But I didn’t.

I will.

After dad passes.

I will tell her.

I will tell the other one.

Then I will be done.

Shorts

Today has been a good day.

I’ve thought of mom, I have remembered her, I have enjoyed remembering her.

Today has been a good day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dad was talking to Youngest tonight, youngest was helping him get his boot on.

Dad: I sure do think a lot of you. I hope you know that.

Youngest wasn’t sure how to respond to that statement. With this stupid disease, platitudes are rare. This rare one chocked me and youngest both up. We both know how much it means.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last week, dad walked in to a room I was in and motioned me over secretively. I went over and he hands me a folded up $20 bill. He leaned over and whispered “Happy Birthday” in my ear.

I teared up and told him it wasn’t my birthday.

He replied well, it will be again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I know dad is planning on leaving us soon. Whether he knows something we don’t, or if he just misses mom so much that he wishes it would happen. Whichever it is, I hope not. I’m not sure I can handle losing my parent’s so close to one another. I am dealing with mom’s death. Slowly. With the responsibility of taking care of dad, I take small moments to grieve. Moments to process. Moments to remember and love her. I can’t dwell on it. Which is a good thing.