Friday, July 08, 2005

Remembering Dad

I will always remember my father as a tall, robust man. But for a brief time during his last days, I am seeing him as a frail creature. His skin sags, as if the muscles between the skin and the bones have all but disappeared. There is no smile on his lips, but his mouth hangs open in confusion. He is often asked to identify the day of the week, the name of the current President, and to tell where he is. These are questions he does not always answer correctly. I wonder where all of his wisdom has gone. Are his memories fading?

Dad is sitting in a chair right now. He is exhausted from his shower. Rather than being bathed in bed, this morning the nurses tried to walk him to the shower. It was extremely difficult for him, and he was unable to make the entire trip into the shower stall. He was near to the point of collapsing on his way to the stall when he defecated on the floor. The nurses sat him on the toilet and bathed him there. When we returned him to his bed, he decided to sit in a chair instead. He has been sleeping since the bath two hours ago.

Dad is very frail. The term, "skin and bones" describes him well. When I help him up to use the bedside urinal, his shoulders and arm seem to have only skin and bones, I feel no muscle at all. His mind is not always clear. He does not remember his telephone number. At one point, he mentioned needing to find out what Missy thought of something. I have no idea what he was talking about, and didn't know if he was getting someone's name confused, or whether he was talking about his daughter who had died in the very late 1950's.

I do not see how Step Mother can continue to live in the house without constant or frequent nursing assistance.

I am not at all convinced that Step Mother is sick, as she claims to be. I fully believe that she feels sick, but I believe that in truth she is so afraid of facing Dad that her mind has produced the symptoms so she can stay at home and hide from the truth. I have seen many cases of denial as a minister, but none so dramatic as this. Step Mother remains convinced that she will bring Dad home and he will return to his former health. That chance is there, but it is so very slim.

I called my Associate Pastor and told him to take care of things in Miami -- I have no idea when I will return home.


Blogger St. Casserole said...

Blessings to you as you help your father. Your post is very moving.
And, thanks for visiting my blog and reminding us of the Hurricane misery in Hati. I don't know why your church members are there but I'm proud of them for going to a dangerous place to help the people.

11:47 PM  
Blogger the reverend mommy said...

Blessings on you -- I know of the type of waiting and the denial. There are those who insist that there is dignity in death, but most of the time I don't see it.
Prayers to you and yours tonight.

12:49 AM  
Blogger revbill said...

Thanks for visitng -- and commenting on -- my blog. Your post on your Dad is very moving -- your are in my prayers.

9:29 AM  

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