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Sitting with the Old Man......
Sitting with the Old Man......
I stated in an earlier posting that my Dad had knee surgery a couple of weeks ago. He is house bound and needs someone to watch out for him during the day. My Mom has the unenviable task of seeing to his needs during the day.
One day this week, she had an appointment and had to leave my Dad alone. Being the dutiful son and having a day off, I offered to sit with him.
He, of course, growled that 'he didn't need no @#$@# babysitter', but he was glad for the company. Although the folks' bedroom is upstairs, the med people set up a bed for him downstairs to keep him from walking upstairs. So he sleeps alone at night.
Now...in my mind, my Dad is one of two of the biggest men I've ever known(the other being my Grandfather who passed away some time ago). Even though I stand a head taller than him, I still call him Sir...couldn't think of not doing so.
But to see him damn near crippled was like a sword through my side. He was gaunt looking, because the medicines made him not want to eat. His knee looked like a steelworker had taken a hammer to it. Plus, lying on his back for so long in the hospital had caused his skin to break out into a horrible rash...and that embarassed him for me to see him that way.
I was calm...but inside I was a maelstom of conflicting emotions. Here was the man that I regarded as a hero...and he's suffering so. I felt rage, anger, hurt, compassion, love, and other feeling course through me like water.
But the most painful thing that happened...was when he went to lie down for awhile. I was following him to help him. He put his walker to the side to sit on the bed, when his feet slipped.
Without thinking, I grabbed him..one arm under his shoulders and the other under his legs. I straightened up....and I was holding my dad like a child in my arms. He looked me in the eye..and tears started filling up in those ice blue eyes of his. He was humiliated that I was holding him.
So was I. I mean, this was Dad! This is the man who taught me how to fish, how to shoot, how to work on stuff. This was the man who would bust my ass when I came in late from partying in high school. This was the man who was proud when I finished boot camp, carrying on a military tradition in our family. And I'm holding him like a baby in my arms. I quickly, but gently put him down and made sure he was comfortable. I left the house later that afternoon....feeling like the lowest life form on the face of the planet.
I am mature and wise enough to know that time waits for no one and that the frailties of old age catch us all. But I'm still enough of the kid to not have to like it.
NG...pulling his hat low..and tightening his overcoat against the cold night winds....gone.
11/22/2005 6:39 pm
It's so hard to see our parents (and grandparents, for that matter) age when the memories of them in their younger days are so fresh in our minds. That look of contentment when they took us fishing, or them beaming with happiness as we excitedly shredded those pretty packages on Christmas morning, or the tears of joy welling up in their eyes as you walk down the aisle on your wedding day. But we have to remember, and they have to realize, that the circle is coming back around. Just as they were there for us to tend to scraped up knees when we fell off our bikes, we will be there for them in their hours of need.|
Yes, it's hard to watch, and even harder to accept as truth, but it does happen eventually, and we have to stay strong, for them as well as ourselves.
11/26/2005 7:45 am
My dad has always been my hero too, and now he is ailing and to see him frail just about kills me. I always knew he would be there to be my champion, to pick me up, and to yell at me when I was wrong. I think even now he would use his last breath to help if I needed rescued. It is a hard thing to get old....and even harder to know that we are all headed there. |