6/27/2006

possibilities

Most of you know that my step-father has Alzheimers and has been in a nursing home for the past 5 months. He's steadily gotten worse which partly comes from the fact that he has a disease but mostly comes from where he lives. It seems that when someone is placed in a nursing home their life starts to make its spiral decent towards death and most times it picks up speed at a much faster rate than before they landed in a nursing home. It's been tough watching someone I love slowly lose all sense of control over his life. I always thought that Alzheimers was about losing your memory but as I watch my step dad lose the ability to take care of himself while his memory of how things used to be stays burning bright, it seems that life has become nothing but a bitter ending waiting to happen.

I was upset that my step-dad couldn't make it to my wedding but I understood why, traveling and chaos only makes his reality harder to cope with. Just after the ceremony my mom's cell phone rang and it was my step-dad asking if we'd 'done the deed' yet. I had to laugh because part of me was thinking...we'd done that deed a long time ago and this day was more about celebrating those deeds. My mom hands me the phone and he tells me how proud of me he is. At first I'm not sure how to respond, mostly because I've never taken praise well. He tells me that he still remembers the day he married my mom and how confused he was before that moment when his life joined hers. "People get lost too often," he said. "They lose their way and sometimes they are so busy looking back at where they've been they never lift their head to notice what lies ahead, possibility." I cried, partly because his words moved me but mostly because tiny pieces of the man I used to know surfaced - if even for a brief moment.

I know so many people that lose their way and I was one of them for so many years. I looked behind so often at what had already passed that I'm sure I missed a hell of a lot of great possibilities. That doesn't matter now, not for me, not for you. What matters is that you lift that chin off your chest, focus in front of you instead of behind, and notice what may be. Even my step-dad who seems to have lived out his life of possibilities looks ahead at what may come. What may come might seem nothing short of painful as he steps closer to an end but as he reminded me, even endings can be beginnings.

11 Comments:

  1. Michelle said...
    This is a great post, probably the best one I have read yet. I am actually at a loss for words and have nothing more to say about this post and that almost never happens.
    I hope that what ever your step-fathers destination is that he finds him self at peace.
    Lex-Sunshine said...
    I've copied your step-father's quote. That's beautiful. Such wisdom. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Tosa said...
    Congratulations on your wedding. I'm glad your step-dad got to share in it a bit even if it was over the phone. You'll always have that great memory of his words.
    e.e. said...
    I can so relate to this post in many ways. My heart is with you as you move forward.

    One part of the post reads "because I've never taken praise well" ... and that has often been the case with me too. Why so many of us are like that is beyond me.

    I also hope the moments you shared on the phone continue. Continue to write about him as well.
    I miss my nana so much sometimes my heart breaks in pieces thinking of her. One of my fondest memories of her, even when she was in the nursing home, was when she would declare that she wanted to stand on a table, drink a pina colada, and dance.
    Now THAT is the Polish way to embrace old age! :)
    k o w said...
    I can't read the site again. It's all black. This is wacky.
    Caterpillar said...
    I copied your step-father's quote, too. And this post has left a big lump in my throat - there's so much in it: good things, hopeful things, absolutely heartbreaking things.

    I'm so happy that you were able to speak on the phone with him on your wedding day, and that he was aware of everything and also able to give you such amazing advice/observations. You have some amazing people in your life who are such deep thinkers.
    sirreene said...
    Okay now I need tissues...
    Tab said...
    ggeeesseeeeeee,,,,I haven't been able to read your blog forever and when I finally do , its a real tear jerker.
    You are such a thoughtful human and your Step Dad must be so proud of you.
    Thanks for sharing ~
    Rex said...
    Wow. You have such wonderful insight. Thanks for sharing this powerful post.
    NML said...
    Gosh I had tears in my eyes reading that. Keep looking ahead girl x
    Da Gal said...
    I can't say anything except thank you for sharing this... I am full on crying now. thanks for speaking so honestly and sharing such a personal moment.

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