As they say, “the best laid plans….” I have been writing this from a hospital bedside in New Mexico; spending time with my Dad. Unfortunately, this will be our last visit, as my Dad has been in the hospice unit in the final stages of his disease.
The last few days have been both terrible and wonderful. My parents divorced when I was young, and I always felt I didn’t get to know Dad as well as I wanted. Growing up, I would get to spend evenings and weekend days with him; but as I grew older, we developed a closer relationship.
To me (and maybe to my brother too), Dad was a school teacher–math and music; he also played music on the side. From what I’ve learned of him this week though, my dad was a musician first, a damn good one; he was a great repairer of musical instruments, and a teacher as well.
Seeing a Different Side
I was able to see my dad in action, talking to friends and musical colleagues. I learned how he has played in civic orchestras, dance and jazz bands, pit orchestras and class rooms. He played a whole host of different instruments; mainly focusing on clarinet. He constantly joked that where ever he went to play, they always made him sit in that “first” chair.
It’s been several days of ups and downs since I stated this post. We’re preparing to move to a senior care home. I was really nervous about having to do this, but after meeting the staff and seeing the facility, I just wish there were more places like it.
It has very much of a home environment to it, but with the extra care he will need since he can no longer walk. I’m looking at every day as a special gift right now–to be able to spend time with him and to let him know he’s not alone.
This year I’ll be spending Christmas in New Mexico, just me and my dad (I hope). Each day has been a special gift to me–time with my dad. All the gifts I bought for family and friends are still in their bags and boxes, unwrapped and waiting for my return. I will eventually hand them out–they will be my New Year’s gifts.
As for gifts for me, right now I have everything I want–time with my Dad. I hope your holiday will be as blessed as my own; the time I’m spending with my Dad right now is precious.
Please take a moment to remember your family; hug them if they’re close enough, call them and tell them you love them.