I can’t keep my hands off of Mom and Dad. Seems like every visit I put my hands (or a chin… don’t ask) on their heads. Yesterday I tugged at Pop’s chin and told him it was about time for a shave. Mom is from the generation when women wore hats in public so every visit I play with whatever she happens to have on her head at the time. We also play footsie, rub knees, tug at each others arms and regularly I make a big show of trying to sit on Mom’s lap.
This week my daughter reminded me why this is so important to me. She told me about a dream she had just had. In the dream her mom was in the hospital, in a coma and about to die. Knowing what was about to happen my daughter said she reached out and hugged her mom tightly and just held on. Then she woke up. My daughter described it as a good dream because it was time with Mom… something she doesn’t get to do anymore and hasn’t been able to do for many years.
In reality it was me hugging my just-deceased wife, my kids were in a waiting room with family and hospital staff. I cried and cried out to God, What am I supposed to do now?
I quickly learned I couldn’t fix things. This was a journey my kids and I were just going to have walk through. That lesson has been reinforced with caregiving for my parents. I can’t fix them either. I still use Dr’s and medical care but there is this underlying reality, they are not getting better. Mom is 85 and Pop’s turns 90 next month. Both are increasingly getting worse, each in different ways. I increasingly have this urge to reach out and hold them tight. Maybe I’ll wake up…
…ever notice that dreams start and end in the middle?