Monday, June 19, 2006

Lessons and Blessings



In my very first entry in this Journal I wrote something to the effect that I have been blessed in many ways – including some that many might not consider blessings.  At the time, I left it at that and alluded to a possible future entry to explain.  Perhaps Father’s Day lends itself to such an occasion.


The gentleman appearing at the top of this entry is my dad.  He will be 85 this year and I think you can see the life and light in his eyes from this photo taken on his birthday last year.


What isn’t evident from the picture or his demeanor was that the picture was taken at a nursing home and it was his first full day there, following hospital rehab for injuries from a fall at his home.  It was his third time in the nursing facility for rehab since his stroke almost three years ago.


Dad was always an impatient man.  He moved quickly and expected everyone else to keep up with him.  He had the energy of 6 younger men it seemed – mowing his own lawn or shoveling his own snow – and that of two or three neighbors for good measure – golfing at least twice a week and driving anywhere and everywhere.  And then his stroke took away the use of most of his left leg and hand, slurred his speech and affected his ability to swallow – and now all of the things that came so easily and quickly take painfully long periods of time to accomplish,  and then imperfectly.


To watch this proud man become dependent on others for the basics in life has been painful, and to watch him grow weaker over time yet still fight to live in his own home (with assistance) has torn at my heart on so many levels and in a thousand different ways.  I watch him grow weary of life, and - sometimes - I grow weary for him and with him.


But this message is about blessings – and that is what I consider my dad and every moment we have left to share.  Each day, this strong, quiet man teaches me lessons about life and patience.  He fights not to give in to his limitations, yet demonstrates a sense of grace in handling them.  The frustration shows sometimes, but he rarely complains – and each night he says his prayers and asks more for help to others in need than anything for himself.  I know there are quiet times when he wishes this burden will be taken from him, but his grip is still strong and purposeful, there is still a look of steel on his face when he needs to dig deep to do something most of us would take for granted – and there is still that light in his eyes.



Our parents continue to teach us long after we’ve grown.  The lessons themselves and the method of instruction may change, but we should always be wise enough to stop and listen – for we still and will always have much to learn, and the teachers, and the blessings of what they teach, will not always be physically with us.


marainey1 said...

He looks like he will enjoy that cake !  My dad is 83 and even though his health isn't good is still able to live at home. My youngest sister does alot for him.  We are blessed to have them still with us and yes, teaching us more about life.

'On Ya' - ma

my78novata said...

wow I LOVE this brightness of this pictures. WHAT an awesome entry for Fathers day. so glad he has grace and its doubly hard for a man such as him who was so independant and self suffient. AWESOME ENTRY!!!!!!!!!

inafrnz247 said...

What a beautiful and touching tribute to your Father... he is also blessed to have such a caring and loyal son.  May you have many more days to share.  
hugs, Michelle

xomywayox said...

You can see the fire of life in his eyes, actually I can see a lot more. It's nice to put a familiar face to the Shadow Man aka CameraSlinger. Ooo something else, if you father is 85 and I know that your somewhere around 35 to 45 box. That makes your dad...what's the word I'm looking for? Mmm Well you get my point. LoL Wonderful entry and thank you for sharing.


akasamdodsworth said...

Thanks for the nice comments Brenda, but I believe in truth in advertising.  So, if you must know, I'm already a year into the 2nd half-century of my life - and therefore no similarities to Larry King for my dad.   ::smiling::


kaydeejay5449 said...

Embrace every moment.  You feel exactly about your Dad as my husband I felt about his Dad.  I fully understand all the emotions, highs, lows, hopes and fears.  You are so fortunate that you are able to see the blessings and the lessons in this journey.  You both will benefit from that understanding and in the end you will be left feeling full of love and warmth and with no regrets.  God bless you both.

bedazzzled1 said...

God, I love that picture. ::wide smile:: He is such a doll! I told you, he is someone I would just love to hug!

Nikki Ü

mutualaide said...

Oh, I just love this entry.  Love it!

rickardfoghorn said...

Hey this is my very first visit to your journal, i just love this photo, you tell him that an irish lass wanted to give him an irish hug... looking good for 85... lots of love Helen

mariebm56 said...

Sweet entry~