Life is a Mixed Bag

Dad and me at his 80th Birthday Celebration

It’s been a while since I’ve published a blog post and even though I say “published” I may as well say attempted too. In the time of Coronavirus I may have run out of things to say. If like me, your days have turned into a perpetual Groundhog Day, you know what I’m talking about. What is there to say about the waking up, brushing teeth and doing eight other things, the same ones you did yesterday. Actually, it’s not as bad as I make it seem and one bright spot in my last month was that my dad was visiting me. He has slowed down quite a bit since turning eighty last December but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of help we would need to get around our house. He fell on his first day here and it was then I realized how fragile he’d become. But with a cane and someone’s crook of an elbow, it was manageable.

On his second to last day here, he took a hard fall in the middle of the night and lay on the bathroom floor yelling out for help. With air conditioners and fans providing white noise in the other bedrooms, no one heard him until we were up for the day at 6:30 a.m. The ambulance was called and he was bundled off to the ER where no one could accompany him due to COVID. He was in good spirits despite his pain as and it turned out I didn’t have to worry about him being on his own because the hospital kept in touch with me throughout the day right up until they placed him in a room where I’d be allowed to visit during the contracted visiting hours later that evening. He broke some ribs and was in a good amount of pain but he never lost his good spirits. He raved about the staff and befriended his neighbor, always the man to make the most of any situation.

Currently he is at a rehabilitation center a few miles from here where visiting hours no longer exist but he was sprung for a doctor’s appointment yesterday and I was able to meet up with him there. Before he was transferred to rehab, I optimistically set up an extra iPad where he’d be able to do FaceTime calls with his kids and I nearly fell out of my chair when an incoming call came early Tuesday morning. There he was, the bottom of his face outside the view of the camera but I could hear how much stronger he was getting and the smile in his voice that he was getting the hang of this “new” technology. Yesterday he called me on FaceTime and furtively asked me to sneak him a candy bar when I saw him that day and who could say no to that.

So that was a bit of unwanted excitement in our otherwise days of sameness. While he was with us, I pulled out some of my mom’s old recipes like beef stew, beef stroganoff and chicken and dumplings so that I could give his taste buds a trip down memory lane and he was deeply appreciative of the variety of meals I cooked, adding some of our new family favorites. Between the odd hours of the day he’d regale me with memories of his youth which were as clear as if they’d happened last week. We discussed politics which is easy and even fun when you’re on the same page and we created a new routine of watching Jeopardy and reruns of The Office where the laughs were plentiful and loud. The wonder of my dad’s laughter a few years after losing the love of his life was and is a beautiful thing.

So the month of July was a mixed bag of blessings but that’s how life is. There are good times and hard times and dull times but they are all ours for the taking.



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