This Thing Called Life
This thing called life has so many stages and changes.
Everyone thought it would snow yesterday.
Anticipating Bad Weather:
People rushed out for groceries and quickly ran errands and then gathered at home awaiting a snow storm that never arrived.
Kind of like a date you’re not sure you want to go out on that never materializes anyway.
Probably all of us have had at least one of those.
I stayed in. Steve went to get groceries and bought us both a Cobb Salad to have later.
We tend to eat our main meal at different times these days. So he took his salad to his own apartment.
I ate probably a third of my Cobb Salad around 6:30. I’ll have more to munch on today.
The Comfort Of Routines:
We all have our routines in this thing called life.
His is to eat his main meal mid-afternoon. Then he likes to watch the news from five until seven.
My routine is to eat supper from around five till six or so. But I usually find myself in the middle of something or other and have trouble stopping long enough to eat.
Yesterday my hips were hurting so much I wanted to immerse myself in water.
The grab bars above my bathtub are not in the right place. Last week I got halfway out of the tub and then fell back down about five times before I managed to get out.
So this time I tied a thick rope around the grab bar facing me. After soaking awhile, I pulled myself out of the tub with the rope.
It will work until I can get something else figured out. I’ll have to check to see if I can change where the grab bars are.
As We Age:
The older we get, the more these routines tend to mean to us.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my daughters’ father.
He may be leaving rehab today for the assisted living facility they picked out for him. It’s only a mile’s drive from Kasi’s house out near Bixby.
Last week I sent him a grand Edible Arrangement gift. It had fruit, a box of candy, and caramel popcorn.
I’m glad I did that. I knew I was doing it for myself as much as for him. But I wasn’t sure why.
I suppose for the emotions swelling up in me for this man who might now not live very long. The man who helped me raise two sweet and successful girls.
When Adult Children Take On The Parental Role:
And now, in this thing called life, Kendra and Kasi are taking on the parental role.
I told them how very proud I was of them both.
Then I also sent their dad a pack of Snickers through Amazon so the girls wouldn’t have to go to the store for him.
He kept asking for Snickers, Kendra said. And it was perfectly easy for me to order it via Amazon from the comfort of my recliner.
And then Kendra said he was curious about whether they were going to have happy hour where he was going to be living. Apparently he likes his evening wine.
I told Kendra she might think about setting up a small wine bar in his new apartment to make him feel more at home.
Then they might stage a sort of happy hour to have with him the first few nights, I suggested to her.
It’s sad to see a once strong man be reduced to this state.
Their dad taught college classes of psychology and sociology for years. He worked out and went to yoga classes. For years he mentored a young boy who didn’t have a father.
Though we divorced, I knew from the girls what he was doing in his life.
In some ways, though I haven’t seen him in decades, I wish I could comfort him.
He won’t be driving anymore, so he will be losing his independence. It occurred to me that I might offer to drive him around.
Sad For Both Of Us:
It took me a moment to realize that getting to the parking lot in a walking boot is about all I can manage. In some ways it looks like we’ve both lost our independence.
Then I felt sad for both of us.
We were only married 8 years, and they were fairly tumultuous years.
But like I’ve mentioned before, once you have children with someone, the two of you are bound together for life.
And I think as you get older, you mellow.
In this thing called life, I know that could just as easily be me in his position right now.
So many changes are happening so quickly for him. And next week he sees the oncologist Kasi found, and they will learn more about the cancer that broke his hip.
Years ago, I remember telling his mother that I would never allow her to “be put away somewhere.” That I would take care of her myself.
She’s been gone since 2006. And it seems that it’s her son’s time to face his mortality.
This Thing Called Life Has Many Stages:
This is what Kendra wrote on Facebook last week.
Today’s conversations with my dad:
“Kendra, can you find out what time they have happy hour at the assisted living place and what kind of wine they serve? Wonder if they call it unhappy hour at a nursing home?
“Next time nurse Mel comes back will you ask if she’s a boy or girl? I’m confused by the bun.
“Why is everyone here so overweight?”
“He also can’t get over me telling him we aren’t renewing his Sam’s card…been hearing about it for days, haha!!“
What Kendra Wrote The Week Before:
“Tomo is going to be hard. Touring assisted living homes for my dad. I’ve been preparing myself for 6 months as his memory has declined, but this is not how I expected it to go.
“I guess I thought we would move him here so he could attend the kids games, go to the park and have dinners with us and live out a happy life.
“We got a call last week that he broke his hip and would need surgery. We went to Norman to be with him only to discover it was cancer that ate thru his bone.
“He’s actually taken the cancer part pretty well, sometimes I wonder if he just doesn’t remember.
“My sister is a super hero and got him transferred to Tulsa for rehab and has been trying to figure out all the oncology stuff. I just bring snacks and tell jokes.
“As someone who is so independent, I am having a really hard time taking away his freedom…
“I know it’s best but it’s so hard telling the man you always thought was so big and strong that he can’t go home. That this is how you’ll be wrapping up this thing called life. I guess it’s better than the alternative…or maybe it’s not.
“When I left him this evening he said “don’t forget about me in here.” Funny coming from someone I just had the same conversation with every 5 minutes for hours.
I laughed and then I just cried and cried and cried…I wasn’t ready.”
I need to tell her that we are never ready.
This post really got to me, Brenda. We can all relate to this on some level. I had to deal with it with my dad – tell him he wasn’t going home again, couldn’t drive, etc. Kendra’s posts got me all teary. You have a big heart, Brenda, putting the past behind, and showing such compassion.
It’s one day at a time. Who knew life would be so short at this stage of our lives. You are so supportive of your daughters and your ex. Brenda you are a very caring person. So glad I found your blog years ago.
I’m so sorry you and your girls are having to go through this. It’s so hard to watch the people you love suffer. And to have to take away their independence makes you feel bad and them frustrated. I wish you all the best of luck and patience as you navigate through this very difficult time. It’s not easy for anybody.
Life is certainly full of twists and turns. My ex husband passed away at the age of 67 from cancer two weeks ago. My brother, also 67, passed away from cancer in April. A close friend’s brother passed away at age 67 in July from diabetes. It is hard to comprehend facing one’s mortality at this age. I have known
who were active and healthy into their 80’s and 90’s. My parents passed away when I was very young so I wasn’t faced with a situation like your daughters are having to navigate. It is so heartbreaking with the combination of dementia and cancer.
I understand your wanting to help them, but honestly, I don’t think there is much for you to do. Being available and supportive of your girls is what they need most. My eyes have definitely been opened to planning for when I get older and infirm. I also feel time is going by too quickly.
And what helps him today won’t be the same tomorrow as the new “normal” keeps shifting. So proud of your girls in their taking care of their dad. Prayers for the 4 of you as you journey through this.
Getting old is hard…I worry sometimes…cause our kids are far too busy just staying alive etc these crazy days…and cannot help much. But really so much of life is simply beyond our control. It is good of you to do what you can to help your daughters and EX. You have a good heart!!
Yes, life goes by so fast and it can be so hard when our loved ones have dementia or sickness. My Dad is 90 and lives by himself an hour away from me. I loved growing up in the area he still lives in by it is getting so bad around there that I am glad we do not live there. He takes care of himself except since Covid I get his groceries and take him to his appointments. Our daughter and family are Military and they are moving farther away than the 4 hours away that they are now. We have no family where we are now and have lived for the past 28 years. I do love living here, it is so peaceful and quiet. It is a little town where I have no problem driving around. So I also worry about who will help us when we get older. We will have to bend in the wind as you said and move wherever our daughter ends up when her husband gets out of the military. Peace and prayers for all of our worries. Like another reader said the other day, I have caught the declutter bug that you kinda started when you organized your craft space. It feels good, thanks for the nudge!
I tend to get the declutter bug each January.
I don’t know if this would work for you but instead of using the grab bar to get out when I’m in the tub, I get on my hands and knees and then put one hand on either side of the tub and push to stand up. It works a lot better for me than trying to pull my weight up using the bar.
To get on my hands and knees I would have to bend at the ankle.
Since we moved I’ve had to give up my tub soaks. The bathtub is smaller and I can’t turn around to get out. I tried twice and it was awful. Be careful.
What a touching post. You don’t often hear how something like this affects young families like your girls are. Especially in a divorced situation so I appreciate your honesty in all you said that you feel sad for him and wish u could console him. I know from experience finding places and doctors takes time so I feel for your girls going through this and working too. I am sure listening to them share is what they need knowing your limitations.
They get an oncologist and then the surgeon doesn’t send the files and thus time stops. I feel for them with all that is involved trying to get all the ducks in a row.
Dianne I am glad I am not the only one. Crazy computers. Brenda’s blog comes in around 10:00 and I look forward to it every day. I am a long time reader.
If it doesn’t arrive in your email box tomorrow, let me know.
I cried when I read what Kendra had written on Facebook about her Dad. I lost my Dad just a few months ago and the circumstances and conversations with my Dad were so similar. My heart ached when I had to make critical decisions about my Dad because he had always been so strong and “in charge”. Some of the things he said in his last days, oh my goodness. My siblings and I laughed and cried when sharing our visit updates. He was a pistol, but we loved him so much!
I cry every single time I read it. And I keep reading it I suppose because I feel the need to help her, and she’s not here to help. They’re both busy and I rarely see them.
Well that was really sad…tears in my eyes.. Someone I love has dementia…a life changing diagnosis that changes everything and takes away beautiful memories…one day at a time…love to your family as they navigate this and hugs to you💕
It is a terribly sad ordeal to watch.
This thing called Life is not for the faint of heart! Just as getting old is not for sissies.
The world is changing faster than we ever imagined just as life is changing. A friend and I were discussing how so much has changed in the last three years. Something as simple as shopping has changed immensely for me. I’ve always been a homebody but now I seldom go anywhere, and I like it this way. A neighbor called me a hermit and suggested I work on it. I’m not sure how I live affects her – I’m very happy.
I hope things go well for your daughters and their dad.
Tell the neighbor not to worry; you’re happy. People tend to think that those like us are depressed. No, we’re just homebodies.
I have resubscribed to your blog. I have not received a post in several days. I was worried something had happened to you. Not sure why I keep getting knocked off.
That has happened again to me.
Send me your email address and I’ll manually add it.
I think I fixed it. What usually goes wrong is that instead of putting the email in the Trash, it goes into Spam. If it goes into Spam it takes your email off the list. Think it’s a safety feature of sorts.
Oh Brenda, it is so sad to see someone go through that. Especially since it is your kids father. Also your situation is restricted which makes it hard to help anyone. And I know you have a good heart and would like to be able to help them with their dad. And as I get older and look around it feels like time is just flying by and we will be in that place sooner than later. It is sad! But we just have to take one day at a time and try not to worry about what the future holds for us. Take care of yourself.
Almost every night when I turn the light off to sleep I think about how fast every day goes by.
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