Ever since my father was placed in a nursing home I have always visited him during holiday seasons and this Christmas was no different. I always try to prepare myself for whatever will greet me, how difficult it may seem.
This Christmas my mother was there when I visited. She had brought a little dog (cuddle toy dog i.e.) for him, and for a short while it had triggered memories from when we had dogs at my parents’ house. He told several stories about “Lillepot” and had a light in his eyes none of us had seen for a long time. It was both wonderful and a little shocking to see this change in him – also because no matter how deep our wishes are to see our old parent and husband, we also have to realize that he is gone for good. My mother never thought giving this toy dog would do so much to him, and for a short while I saw a glimpse of hope in her eyes – and may I add that she is normally a very realistic woman with no high flying hopes and ideas!
Still, it only lasted for a few hours. The following day, the dog had been put away in his closet and the sparkle in my father’s eyes had gone and left his eyes with no life at all, only an empty look.
Knowing that, wishing I could have just a few moments with my father as he was, I always put my hand to his heart, look him in the eyes and tell him how much I love the father he has always been to me, and on Christmas Eve I believe there was a glimpse of recognition in his eyes when I did that.
Just the other day, I took my daughter to visit him again – we celebrated her 8th birthday, and I thought it would be nice to say hello when we were home earlier than we usually are. He was smiling and seemed glad to have us visit him, but he couldn’t remember me at all; he took my daughter for me and held her hand and look at her with loving eyes. She – cool as she is – let him hold her hand tight and looked directly into his eyes and smiled, although he can seem a little scary as he has lost a lot of weight and is far from the grandfather she once knew. I’m happy that she got to know him before he got sick and that she can remember how he was. We talk a lot about how he is today and how he was; and I explain how I often cry when we leave him, because I miss him as the father I used to have.
I’ve been blessed with many years of love from a man who would never leave my side when I needed him. He might not have been there so much in person when I grew up, but I never missed him in my heart or in spirit. But it breaks my heart to see him in a state where he can do nothing himself. He can not dress himself today, he cannot express any feelings, but only says “yes” or “no” when we ask him. He has no personality left and no interest in other people anymore. The father I knew was an extrovert and social person who was always making people around him feel good and never missed a chance to tell a joke. Today he is just a shadow of a man, not even close to the person he was. And he is in no way the father I miss.
Whenever I visit him I’m reminded of how fragile life is, and that we should never take anything for granted. Start every day telling yourself that you should attack the day with a positive mind and get the best out of it – and, as I always say, remember to tell the people around you, that you love them. You can never say it too much. I can only say that I feel blessed with the people around me. The older I get (no, I’m NOT old, I’m just a little matured!), the more important it is to me that I have the right people in my life, not only in my private life, but the people I work with are equally as important, and I have a really good feeling where I am now. Everything will work out if you listen to yourself and make the right decisions; sometimes you have to make a few detours on the way, but there is never a decision that is so definite that you cannot change it. If you are in the wrong place, it is your own responsibility to make the decision to change the surroundings and find a place where you feel good. I’m there right now, and I love it!!
Remember guys, that you only have this one chance in life to be happy, and if you don’t make an effort to get there, no one else will open the right doors for you. Dare to do the right things and be happy – we all deserve a happy life!
And so, I end by sending you all my L-O-V-E!
Hugs & kisses