Yesterday, I moved my father for the 10th time in 6 years. A number of years ago I recognized the pool of sadness that lies within him. It has revealed itself in a number of ways, but often through discontent with where he is. No matter where he is or what the circumstances he always is looking over the hill to see if the grass is greener…and of course, it is; at least in his mind. The move yesterday, (to another floor in the same complex) was the first time that he has been ambivalent about a move.
By the time I got to his place, he had already phoned me a number of times and I could tell by the messages he left that he was very confused and anxious. When I arrived and met with the administrators to do the paperwork, I was told that he had been sitting on the floor in his new empty suite, unsure of what to do. My first sight of him was when he came off the elevator, disheveled, unshaven and poorly dressed shuffling behind his walker that he had loaded with a pile of towels.
The shock of seeing him like this left me numb.
My father is an old-school gentleman, always very concerned with his appearance, always in control, always perfectly dressed and groomed, not this wild haired, wild eyed confused old man. I spent the rest of the morning trying to settle him down and make it better. I wanted to at least give him a comfortable place to sit in the new suite, but the job of trying to get him to sit and wait for me as I moved his chair and footstool, reminded me of the days when I was mother to toddlers.
He spent the rest of the day in his chair in his new suite, forlorn and confused as all the activity of the move swirled around him. So very, very sad…watching this man who had always been so perfectly in control of his life, a caregiver to two chronically ill wives and my grandparents, an executive, a charming and competent man, reduced to the position of a helpless child.
As I write this I am grieving the man he was and struggling to come to terms with the child he is becoming. Good night Daddy, I will miss you so much.