The last time I saw my dad in his new home, he asked me if I’m a teenager.
I shook my head. “Do I look like I am?”
He scrutinized my face. “Are you 25?”
“You’re getting closer, Dad!”
My dad is legally blind and he has dementia, but I still took it as a compliment. 🙂
Last week, he tested positive for Covid. His symptoms are mild, thanks to being fully vaccinated. But some underlying health issues caused his new home to send him to the hospital. He’s been there a few days, about to leave ICU for a special Covid ward. His wonderful nurse, Amanda, calls me frequently to keep me updated.
The first morning he woke up in the hospital, Amanda told me he was pretty scared. “Am I in jail?” he asked her. She held his hand and calmed him down (God bless her). She stayed and talked with him. Naturally, we cannot visit since he has Covid, so I’m relying on the nurses to be not only family to him, but also the hands of Jesus.
As they talked, Nurse Amanda said he was mostly disoriented but then he’d say something funny and she’d laugh. I told her that Dad has not lost his sense of humor.
She told him she had just spoken to Taryn. His face lit up.
“My daughter? You talked to Taryn?” He doesn’t always get the family relationships right, but he knows me.
“Yes,” she said.
“She’s such a sweet girl,” Dad said. Not a bit of cognitive impairment in that statement. 🙂
Nurse Amanda agreed with my dad (bless her again!).
He said to her, “Everyone should know Taryn.”
We’re in the home stretch now with Dad. It may be years or it may be months, but he’s winding down his time on earth. Those words are some of the last ones I’ll ever hear him say, even if they’re indirect. I just love that he thinks everyone should know me!
The day before Dad was admitted to the hospital, Mom fell again. Thankfully, she didn’t hurt her hip and she’s been given a clean bill of health from her recent hairline fracture. I try to keep Mom abreast of what’s happening with Dad, but I also downplay it so she won’t be stressed. Needless to say, it’s been an extremely difficult week wrapped in a tough season.
That’s why the few hours my husband and I found today to sit on our patio–the place I think of when I need to go to my “happy place”–were so precious. We soaked up the autumn sunshine, with a cat purring on each of our laps, and read books for pleasure. I could feel my blood pressure going down and my spirit becoming calmer.
While we sat there, we gazed at the spectacular fall palette our Divine Artist painted in the North Carolina trees. The colors have been more brilliant this year than ever. The beauty of God’s handiwork speaks love to me. It nourishes my soul.
I remember my first full day in Romania in 1990, scared of the unknown and unsure if I could handle life there. God whispered love into my heart that day through a deep purple flowering bush tucked in a secret garden–a sweet gift from God to me.
I heard that whisper again today. It was a God-sent moment of peace. A rare gift when I needed it most, in an autumn that just won’t quit giving out its splendor.