On the other end of the spectrum, there was a man named Tony who spent the entire day there. I thought at first he was a senior volunteer from the RSVP program or something, but it turns out he is the husband of a patient, and spends the whole day with her, but also contributes to the rehab, helping the nurses care for patients, feed them, clean up after them. He loves his wife so much he hardly spends any time at home. There is a married couple where the wife comes in dressed to the nines every day, and simply wheels her ever-silent, lost husband around, talks to him and feeds him. My mother can barely be convinced to bring my father clothes. It’s so strange indeed.
We went out and bought some clothes for Papa. This T-shirt seemed quite appropriate.
Left, my eldest sister Anna--right, my middle sister Helen. We all sport curls.
Some seniors are more engaged than others. They thought my dad was completely disengaged. He was combative and incoherent. He was withdrawn and morose. And then we got there; and the staff was astonished. He lit up. And with each passing day the fog of confusion and drugs took a back seat—he had a willing, invited audience of his three daughters… he could discuss his concerns with people willing to address them for him, he had new clothes brought to him, and a box of his favourite treats ferreted away for his enjoyment. He was healing—because of us. He was embarrassed by his state, and wanted out of there. I am working to bring him here to stay with me. I believe he deserves to enjoy his days being loved and fussed over; not sitting alone in a rehab with other abandoned souls. It’s not fair and it’s not right. Not when there are people who want him home and who love him.
We obviously found a few free moments to goof off.
Laughter was imperative. It kept us all from crumbling.
Some of the sights from my old stomping grounds:
A whole neighborhood of these walls divide the properties from the sidewalk.
The Merrimack River spanned by the 125 bridge; separating Bradford from Haverhill.
This house makes me long for things antiquated.
The leaded glass and brick make me homesick. It overlooks the Merrimack River.
It is in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Large masonry churches... swoon. This was in Bradford, Massachusetts.
It was a hectic week. Painful. To say goodbye to my father was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do—especially when he reached out and brushed my face with his hand and told me he loved me. I nearly lost it. But I kept my tears fast—he didn’t need to know I was sad to see him so faded. I let those go last night, when I got home; I had a massive meltdown that soaked my pillow and Hubby’s shoulder. I wept out all my horrid fears and my sorrows. I feel spent and exhausted. I don’t want him to fade now that we’re gone. I want him to stay strong until I can get him here.
But I’m back now. Time to get back to life as usual. For now.