If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my 62 years of life, it’s that things are always changing. That seems so interesting since most of us have trouble embracing change. I know I don’t like change. It throws me for a loop every time. You’d think I would have adjusted by now, but I haven’t.
In just a little over two weeks from this writing, our dad will turn 87 years old. His mind is still good, but his body isn’t keeping pace. He was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis about 9 years ago and it is beginning to take its toll. Up until recently, he has actually done very well. He is now on oxygen therapy to help his heart stay better regulated and to help him catch his breath when he exerts himself. The oxygen doesn’t help the disease, however.
With a life expectancy of 2 to 5 years, he has defied the odds and then some. We are so grateful for every day he has been given and look forward to the many days ahead with him. We are also grateful for the decision he made on his own to downsize and move in a place where he will be with others his own age and have help with the daily chores that are getting harder and harder for him to perform. This is not an assisted living nor a nursing home, but rather a senior community.
This is a good thing, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that it’s hard. My sister and I seem to be taking turns dealing with the emotions all of this brings to the surface. Daddy has lived in his house since I was 12 years old; 50 years!!! There are so many memories in that house and as we go through cabinets and closets, the memories tumble out at an alarming rate. Although Mama’s been gone 5 1/2 years, she still fills the house. We are accomplishing very little because so many of the things we touch need our stories to be told. I can still see her sifting through her cook book which is really just a stack of recipes inside a hard back book. There wasn’t any real order to it, so she would have to sort through each one until she found exactly what she was looking for. There are the parfait glasses she served pudding or ice cream sundaes in. There are all the trays and serving pieces from the days when she hosted baby and bridal showers. So many memories.
To watch Daddy give away tools he can no longer use is tough. His desire to work still thrives, but he just doesn’t have the strength any more. He has never been one to sit still for very long, but now finds that’s his favorite thing to do. Don’t misunderstand all this! He still drives. He still goes to his place of business everyday. He still makes work deposits and pays the bills for both himself and his business. He still handles all his own medicine. He is far from done!!!! Yet, he is far from who he was just a short while ago.
It is the way of life. Nothing stays the same. Things we once could do, we can no longer do. We don’t have to be 87 for that to be true! We don’t live forever. These bodies of ours can only last so long. Thankfully, our spirits are different. They are eternal. As we help our dad transition to this next stage of his life, we are thankful to know that when that time comes and the Lord finally calls him home, that he will be in the presence of Jesus for eternity. How do I know that? Because Daddy has a personal relationship with Jesus. He is Daddy’s Lord. And Jesus promised He will return for those who are His. How about you? Have you prepared for your future?
So, we move forward as a family. We bend with the never-ending changes and find joy and peace in our new places. And we cherish each day we have together.
Lots of love, Sharon