My dad had his cataract surgery yesterday and it went well. My brother actually brought him up Sunday so I could help him with his eye drops, which needed to be put in every four hours. I’m sure he enjoyed being here (he was getting some home cooking, for one thing!), although the basement was a little cool for him. Because of this cold weather we’ve been having, the little heaters just aren’t keeping up. Monday night he went along to one of the nursing homes and got to see my friend Kat and I do our “Campfire Christmas” for the residents. He enjoyed it, and I enjoyed having him there :)
I toyed with the idea of letting him stay through Christmas, not that he asked, but neither did I offer. I think if he’d have asked to I would have said yes, but he didn’t, and I just wanted a break. That sounds like a lame excuse, doesn’t it? The truth is, I don’t completely relax around dad. I think it’s getting better, but I’m not there yet. Sometimes he “goes negative” and I try to steer him away from the pain he’s needing to express, but it can get to me. It got progressively worse after the follow-up appointment today. In fact, the closer we got to “the dungeon” (he stays in my younger brother’s basement because the house is under renovations), the worse it seemed to get. I tell him it’s not a dungeon, it’s a “man cave”, and that staying there has allowed him to save the money to be able to afford the surgeries on his eyes.
When I dropped him off I carried his clean clothes in and the food from the store, helping to put things away and trying to get him settled. I wanted to balance his checkbook so he didn’t run the risk of an overdraw and sure enough it wasn’t right. I asked if he wanted me to put his next set of drops in before I left and he said yes, so he sat down. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the picture I have in my mind of him sitting there telling me he’s lonely, that he regrets ever leaving mom (40+ years ago). I reminded him that he said she was difficult to live with and he said, “Yes, but she was honest.” I helped him put the patch back on his eye and he hugged me when I left but it was different, almost a goodbye. I cried as I drove away, wondering if I did the right thing. He is a broken man, and I am not responsible for his happiness, but I was feeling his pain.
Yesterday I talked to my mom, who informed me her doctor did a test and she failed it. I asked what kind of test it was and it took her a while to get out that it had to do with driving. It sounds as if she will be losing her license. Then she tells me the doctor asked her if she wanted to start some treatment for dementia. We’ve noticed a marked decline in her memory over the past few months. It doesn’t help that she keeps speaking things like, “I’m losing my memory” over herself. ~sigh~
The Bible says we are to honor our father and our mother. It also says we are to leave everything and everyone and follow Him. Recently I was at the nursing home in town and was pushing one of the residents back to her room when someone asked me, “Is she your mother?” They’re all my mother, and my sister, and my brother. I have work to do, and a growing sense that I need to be very intentional in 2017. I am afraid of getting sucked into care giving. God knows I love my parents and am willing to do whatever He asks, but unsanctified mercy can put you in a world of hurt. Perhaps it’s time to fast again….