Tough call for my father-in-law and I both yesterday. I had the easier role as I was the person taking charge and making sure everything will work out okay, whereas he was the loving husband staring his wife’s death in the face. The last 5 years or more he has built his whole life around her, ever since he finally retired from his role as chaplain at the psychiatric hospital in Kingston. He needs a mission to orient himself and his new mission became the care of his weaker and weakening wife. Now that she is going, his life will be empty indeed!
When we finished the call, all business that is, I looked at him and saw how difficult he was finding this. So as one guy to another I offered him a small scotch even though it was not even yet noon. He gratefully accepted. Later I found him sitting by her bedside, holding her hand. Now that she is staying in bed and not cuddling into him on their couch, their opportunities for physical contact are greatly reduced. He also does not hear well anymore so he usually does not hear her if she says something to him. At least the visit to pick up and try out his new hearing aids in a few days is likely to be less controversial as he really needs them now.
My own mom is also declining but at a much slower rate. Her Alzheimer’s is more advanced but so far she is often in good spirits. I am anticipating my grieving for her as I am slowly losing her already. I do appreciate the chance to visit and love her despite how tenuous our connecting is now. What a 2019, the year I say goodbye to at least one of my two moms. It is a blessed labour of love to care for my elders… and I am so blessed!
Originally written January 8, 2019