Friday, August 17, 2012

The Piano Man....

So many thoughts have been circling through my mind  the last few weeks. I lay awake at night and wrestle with them all. I try and put it all in a neat little organized package, but that just doesn’t work very well. My thoughts are slippery, and have their own path to follow.

My Dad has been home on Hospice care for the last three and a half weeks. I never had a family member, or even a close friend that had been on Hospice, so I had no idea what that would mean for the family. I went into this transition period with my Dad full speed ahead. He wanted to be home, we’ll get him home. We will make it work. I’ll make it work if it’s the last thing I’ll ever do.HA! I did not take into consideration what this noble, selfless act would do to my Mom. It has taken a toll, to say the least. Every day, Dad has been getting weaker and weaker. The first week my Mom was able to get my Dad up from the bed and to the chair by herself. The second week, there was no way she could do it alone. I have been sleeping at my parents house every night, and spending most of my days there, working from their home along with Jillian. I don’t need to go into the logistics of it all, but it works. Until this past Monday.

After my Dad’s breakfast, the routine has been to get him to his chair with the help of his walker. This day, his legs just wouldn’t work. My mom and I have a little system where I pull him up until he can grab hold of the walker and balances himself before he begins the short trek to the chair. “Ready for your marathon Dad”? He always grins and nods yes to me. I’m holding him with all of my strength, my mom right behind him. He starts to buckle, but I hang on tighter. My back begins to spasm, and sweat is pouring down my neck and back with the strain of his weight. “Stand up Dad, try and stand straight”. And he does. Slowly, we begin our marathon to the chair. I had a vision of Tim Conway in one of the skits he did in the Carol Burnett Show. I started to giggle inside. We were getting nowhere fast. Get it together Sue. Slowly, at an inchworms pace, we got him to the chair. It was at that moment I knew. We couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t do it anymore. I think my Mom knew a lot sooner than I did that caring for my Dad alone wasn’t going to work. She has been caring for him for many years. It’s time. Time for someone else to take over the physical care for him, while we enjoy the time we have with him.

Yesterday was a big day for us. We got Dad settled in his new home. It is a beautiful facility surrounded by woods. He can go outside, right off his room on the patio, and enjoy the fresh air again. Hear the birds, feel the warmth of the sun, and smell the rain. As we wheeled him around in his wheelchair, we stopped in a huge lounge area where a piano waits. My sister can play beautifully, and has done so professionally. “Will you play for me Deb”? And she did. I held together pretty well, until he asked her to play one more. With tears streaming down our faces she played as my mom held tightly to her lifelong mate, with me and Jillian crying and hugging, sharing and experiencing this moment of love, hope, peace and faith.

I spent one last night at my parent’s home last night. My Mom and I both grappling with our inner thoughts, talking and crying together. I know she feels relief that my Dad will now be cared for in a way she couldn’t do for him anymore. I’m struggling with my own sense of failure that I couldn’t do more. I know I shouldn’t feel that way. I know this. But I do. I’m stubborn that way.

I’ve been learning so much about life these last few months. I’m experiencing so many miracles every day. My eyes are wide open, and I’m grateful. I’m thankful for all of the people who have been so supportive, and so unselfish with their time, their love, and their support for me, for Jillian, and for my Dad.

I'm planning to listen to many, many more songs, as I continue to learn and experience all there is to hear. 

God Bless


  1. Sue, our arms are around you. Hospice care is run by angels on earth. We had it for 5 weeks last July for me mom. Love to you,Pammy

  2. Wow, what an emotive piece. Hugs to you and your family.

  3. YOUR RIGHT! It's time to let someone take over the medical part, and for you to just be there to hold his hand, and share the time you have left. Bless you:)

  4. Oh gosh Sue, that is so beautiful. I truly am sorry for all your pain, and for everyone's pain. Your Dad and Mom know how much you love them, and though soon some of you will be separated physically for a time,there will come the day that all are united.
    This picture is makes me happy and sad.
    Please don't be so hard on yourself. You did not fail. In your last post when you wrote about teetering on the edge, I think you wrote that God would be disappointed in you for doubting or not trusting him enough? I remember you writing something to that effect. I replied when I read it, but it got lost in cyberspace and I didn't rewrite my response. But I thought, oh no, God would never be disappointed in you Sue--he would hold you up as a servant who loved him deeply, and I think it hurts him to see your pain.