Monday, March 24, 2008

An Intimate Moment With My Father

My son, Nick, has been home since last Thursday helping a local parish with it's Holy Week services. We bought him one last meal at Denny's last night and sent him back to the seminary in Indianapolis. He will be back next month for a quick visit before heading to New York City to see the Pope at Yankee Stadium.

I woke up on Saturday refreshed from the extra sleep. I was stranded at home because my wife was at her mother's retirement home getting a picture taken with her mother and sisters. We are still driving a rental car since the car I wrecked nearly a month ago is still in the body shop. I am eager to get my car back and expect that to happen some time this week. Soon after my wife returned home I left to go visit my father. He is now back in the same nursing home he was in a couple of months ago. When I got there he was trying to get out of the bed and he'd had an accident. I immediately repositioned him in his bed and then quickly summoned one of the staff. With a few moments a smiling angel from the staff was there. Together we began the process of cleaning him up, changing his gown, and putting clean sheets on the bed. At some point another nurse assisted us. These two ladies were extremely nice and very gentle with my father. One thing I noticed was that they showed him great respect and dignity by always calling him by his name. They were very professional. In the middle of all of this one of them looked at me and said, "God bless you, we love children who care about their parents". I replied, "No, bless you for the work you do"! I had mixed feelings about the whole experience. On the one hand I was very happy to be able to assist my father in his hour of need. It was a very physical experience. I held his hand, rubbed his head, and helped turn and move him in the bed. On the other hand it was very difficult to see my father so helpless and in such an embarrassing situation. It was very emotional for me and several times my eyes filled with tears. When he was finally cleaned up and once again comfortable, I sat in a chair next to his bed and gently held his hand. I'm not sure he knew what had happened but I know he knew who I was. I continued to sit there for a while in silence. It was a moment of true prayer. I had originally planned to go check on my mother after visiting my dad. A little while later I looked up and my mother, along with two of my nieces, walked into the room. Along with six children, my parents have approximately 15 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Their presence seemed to animate my father somewhat. He was still confused but knew who everyone was. A little while later I headed for home feeling emotionally exhausted.

Yesterday I had Easter dinner at my sister in law's home. Judy is a marvelous cook and seems to have inherited all of my mother in law's skills. Since my mother in law doesn't cook anymore, the whole family is happy that Judy has her culinary talent. Chloe and her parents were there also. Chloe was quite beautiful in her Easter outfit. It appeared that Mommy had spent quite a while doing her hair. By last night I was tired from the experience with my father and all the visiting. It didn't take long to fall into a deep sleep on my couch.

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