The minute I changed my mind about what I am doing right now I began to feel better. I knew that I wanted to get out and get some exercise, but I couldn’t figure out how.
Yesterday I put my mother in a wheelchair and walked her for 45 minutes. It was the best I have felt in a long time. To have every pore in my body gushing out toxins. To feel my heart pump blood into every crevice of my organs. To breathe long hard breaths. To be physically challenged for the first time in many, many months was the best high ever.
The beat goes on. I am still in the same place, doing the same thing and enduring the pressure of what must be done next.
Next is the decision to place my parents in a nursing home by July 2014. It is the very thing that I was trying to avoid. I was avoiding this step when they were able to walk. When they were somewhat active. When there seemed to be hope and of course it wasn’t as cumbersome.
Right now my stepfather lays in a bed 22 hours a day. My mother sits in a recliner all day with the exception of bathroom calls.
That means that every glass of water, every snack, every meal and every bowel movement is up to me. Every question, however insignificant is a calling of my name. This is 24 hours a day seven days a week.
You would think that placing your parents in a home when it is so hard to care for them personally could be an easy decision.
If you have ever walked through a nursing home and you think about walking your parents into a place where old, frail humans are sitting in wheelchairs and staring away as the life is leaving them. To tell your parents, “this is your new home,” to leave and wave goodbye as their eyes scream for you not to leave them there. This is the task at hand.
I realize that it is a journey for me and them. They are going home, I can’t hide that from them. I realized how fearful I am of facing that possibility myself. Walking the halls of the dying is a quick realization of the very fact that we must all return home some day.
I have some standard idea that if I were old and frail that I would automatically want to go. Now I know that isn’t necessarily true for everyone. I think that there is work to be done in order to feel so free.
This “work” I speak of is being in tune with our existence.
I’m talking about the answers that our faith is giving us. Not just the things that we say we would do if there could be trouble. I’m talking about the very things we say and do when we are smack in the middle of hell.
As I approach the most difficult task of my life to date, I pray for guidance and ask forgiveness for what I must do.
We are all on our way home. We are just on a path there.
I’m thinking about a yellow brick road.