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.
I always knew you were a hugger at heart, Marcia :) Thank you for sharing this special moment with Pa.ReplyDelete
A lesson for us all. (( Hugs to you ))
Thanks Cathy. A closet hugger!ReplyDelete
That is such a beautiful example to all of us.ReplyDelete
Thanks Kris & co. As your journey is also.ReplyDelete
Wonderful story of love & compassion! Pa knows when he is loved & accepted & respected!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing this heart touching story!
Thanks Sheri. Sometimes the expression of love has to be intentional-- I am sorry to admit. (With my mom it was easy). But by grace we get it!Delete
This is beautiful, Marcia. I remember when I worked at the Y having a conversation with some of the seniors one day about how much they missed being touched. Most of them lived alone and were starving for a hug, a pat on the hand, a brush of their hair. We worked some mini-backrubs and backpats into our classes and they came alive. This is beautifully transparent!ReplyDelete
Thanks Lori, I know you understand--and freely give.Delete
Thanks Lori.Although it was easy to "Touch" my mom, I did not have the same inclination toward my father-in-law. I see how it matters.ReplyDelete
Love your heart. Pa is blessed to have you at this time in his life.ReplyDelete
Caregivers are easily overwhelmed with the physical duties of caring for the sick or elderly. Easy to forget to just love (hard to find the time and the energy as well.) Your beautiful story illustrates it takes only a moment to show affection, and the results will last a lifetime. Beautiful, beautiful story.ReplyDelete