Recently my siblings and I moved my dad into an assisted living facility. It was time and we all knew it. He now has several serious health issues that require a lot of monitoring, but it was still hard to move him out the home he’s lived in for over 50 years, the home I spent my teenage years and beyond in. It’s another one of those major life transitions. When my oldest sister left to go back to her home in Tennessee following a recent visit to Minnesota, she sent me a text message that said:
Before I left, I walked through the house one more time knowing it was the last time I’d see it as I know it. That was hard. Things will just never be the same.
This is the way life works.
Life is one long series of transitions. Some are happy. Some are not.
If you were to make a timeline of your life, undoubtedly, the significant markers on it would be dates of major transitions, right?
Many transitions involve letting go, adapting, adjusting, accepting, learning, growing, grieving, and yes, weeping.
Many transitions bring loss and tears. But thankfully, many also bring the opposite.
As we moved my dad into his new residence (a spacious studio apartment which I like very much AND in which dogs are allowed – a primary consideration in my family, btw), I still couldn’t help but wonder if he felt we were letting him down just a bit. I’m envious of families that care for their oldest members within their very own walls.
When I was a young girl, my friends across the street lived in a big old house with three levels and lots and lots of rooms and in a couple of those rooms, their grandpa resided. He seemed really old to me, I mean really old. I was afraid of him for some reason, but probably for no other than the fact that he was old and I was not. But I also sensed there was something very special about my friends having the privilege of their grandpa living with them. They were lucky and somehow I knew that.
None of us love my dad any less because he’s not living under one of our roofs, of course. But it was, and still is, hard to leave him in such a strange, unfamiliar place where we must trust others to look out for him when we cannot. For that reason, and many others, goodbyes are harder now.
Kind of surprisingly, my dad is adjusting remarkably well in his new surroundings. But then again, he’s never been one to complain. He’s settling in. He’s making friends. He’s adapting. He’s transitioning. We all are.
It’s hard. But it’s also wonderful.
My dad is almost 90 years old, an almost magical number of years to live some might say. And they’d be right.
As transitions go, this one feels pretty major for us all, but especially for my dad.
But he transitions. As do my I.
I’m so proud of you, Dad.
I always have been.
Happy Father’s Day. I love you.
Are you a caregiver for a loved one, or have you ever been one?
Have you had to place a parent, or other loved one, in a care facility of some sort?
Would you like to share something about you dad?