If you stumbled across this blog post searching for something salacious, now is a good time to exit the page. My oldest, best friend is leaving this morning after a three-day visit, during which she gave me a card with this message:
If I was a Mormon Fundamentalist, I would want you as my sister wife. Thanks for being my friend.
She’s upstairs sleeping in my son’s room as I write this, and I realize how much I will miss her when she catches her airplane to go home in a few hours.
Compared to many caregivers, I have it pretty easy. My Dad still gets himself out of bed, dresses, and toilets unassisted. Nothing I do for him is physically demanding. But, I will admit, it is emotionally demanding.
My most important task for my Dad, in many ways, is to boost his spirits. Most days, he rises like a balloon full of fresh helium, rolls into the kitchen to greet me and may even burst into loud, gravelly song, “Summertime… and the livin’ is easy…” Within a couple of hours, however, the balloon begins to deflate and he expresses dismay about how old he’s getting, or how weak or shaky he may feel. On a bad day, he may ask what’s to become of him next, or lament that he is so dependent. He doesn’t outright say that he’s ready to leave this world, but I often feel that’s the part he leaves unsaid. I do my best to help him feel supported and loved, and try to do little things that temporarily buoy him.
Quiet, intimate time with true friends – especially friends like this one – help me to refuel. Most of our weekend was spent talking, a fair amount of it accompanied by a little wine. She won’t go home raving about all of the cool activities we enjoyed but I hope she enjoyed it.
In the wake of her departure, I feel content, like a cat sitting in the sun, petted by someone who loves me.