This is my first blog entry. I hope to share my experiences with others who are traveling similar roads and looking for some comforting light when it gets a bit dark or shadowy en route to tomorrow’s sunrise.
A little bit about me – I am at the halfway point to a century. I was raised in a time when dysfunctional was not a word to describe a family and you worked for everything and anything you wanted or needed no matter what age or obstacle you encountered.
Faced with all of the twists and turns life throws at everyone through the years, I now find myself with empty rooms, once filled with noise and beautiful chaos that I would not trade for anything in this world. Leading up to this point I did what needed to be done to prepare my children so they would become independent, productive, and honest adults. The pictures you see in your mind of what life will be in the future are never the same as the reels that play out. There is no difference between a child dreaming of the future and an adult with life experience, except the child still has the innocence to believe.
Through all the beautiful bright light and shadowed dark places I have traveled there has always been one consistent thing that kept my belief in the purity of innocence since childhood – The Sunrise. It will always come up from the horizon promising a new dream no matter what happened the day before if we just dare to believe.
~ Now that the kids are grown, making their own way through life, most of my responsibilities have dropped off to the bare minimum. My husband and I can refocus on us again like we planned and dreamed about during pillow talk for so many years with kids draped and drooling all over us instead of blankets and fresh sheets. Yeah, not quite. What I did not see coming or factor into our pillow talk equation was trading out the responsibilities and worries of my children for my father. It is equally emotionally invested and traumatic.
My father was a strong man that physically worked hard his entire life to provide the best he could for himself and his family. He was a man to fear if you did wrong, and one you wanted to earn respect from. One day he is fishing away the retirement of his dreams and the next he is in a bed connected to machines and doctors saving his life. In an instant his life changed from a dream to a nightmare and mine transitioned.
He is trapped in is body. He is depressed. He is angry. He is sad. He is confused. He is alive. A stroke disabled him and made a self-reliant sea captain dependent on others for everything. He is upset when he wakes up every day in his bed and not with his mother and brother. His dignity has been taken. His reason for living has been taken. His self has been taken. It has been two years and some things have changed for the better. We have gotten into a new routine of life. He understands he has to rely on me and others. He still hates it and wants to die each day, but he still finds the will to rise out of bed everyday the same as the sun.
I found a peculiar thing happened within myself. As much as I wish this never happened to my dad and I truly wish he would be where he wants to be to end his suffering, I am finding selfish feelings of relishing this new time with him. I listen to his stories of yesteryear and learn something new about him that would have never been told or heard. I look forward to shaving him, it so intimate and a lovely thing to share with him that I would have never done.
Life, as I knew it, with my dad was only a father and daughter when the sun set. Life as I know it now in the beautiful light of today’s sunrise, is a man and a woman with the bonded love of a dad and his little girl. The days are still long and hard watching him struggle, seeing the haunt in his eyes, emptying urinals, cutting up his food, putting a bib on him, dressing him, driving him to appointments, rubbing the medicated creams on his now fragile skin, pushing his wheelchair, watching his weight drop pound by pound, and seeing him defeated by a fork.
Daring to dream or seeing the beauty with every new sunrise is something I cling to as life sends me on this journey. Because of this stroke and transition for me from childcare to parental care, I have been forced to slow down to the pace of a heartbeat. I hear the words behind the words. I feel the emotion behind the reaction. I see the man behind the name – father.
My father’s worst nightmare has become a dream for me, one that I know won’t and don’t want to last but will remember and cherish forever. If you are reading this and ever find yourself in similar shoes, do yourself a favor and allow yourself to slow down and – be – in – the moment because it will pass and you will have missed out on the promise of a sunrise.