Sometime after his arrival the hugs stopped. I hoped it was enough to just serve him—make his meals, and showers, attend to laundry and bodily malfunctions. Take him for a daily ride and watch Wheel of Fortune.
I was tethered to his myopic world. Tethered and tetchy.
I hoped it was enough. But it wasn't.
We were having lunch when I commented on the wild, wiry rim of hair that circled his bald head. “Pa, you look like you put your finger in a light socket,” I said, in my heart annoyed he had become so lax with so many of his grooming habits. I put my fork down, got the scissors, wrapped him in a towel and started cutting. Combing and cutting—carefully around the ears—he was worried about that.
When I finished and gave him a “Ta Da!” he started crying. He held my hand, respectful not to impose with the kiss he longed to give, as though knowing an old man’s body wasn't welcome.
I scooped him in my arms and planted a big one on his cheek.I hadn't realized how much he needed to feel love. I hadn't realized how much I had let service replace it. A noisy gong clanged in the background of my mind. (1Cor.13)
The next day it snowed. I made him a snowman. He kissed me again.
A haircut, a hug, a snowman at breakfast. Not too difficult.
Epilogue (of sorts)
I don’t know what all this warm fuzzy released in him—up at 8:30 this morning (usually eats and goes back to bed half the day) looking for things to do (with me!).
Oh my. I hope that’s not noisy gongs and clanging cymbals I hear again.
Blessings on this National Escape Day of January 2014—a good to remember the caregivers in your life—they need breaks too.