Witnessing a parent’s decline is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through (besides that of your own child)…
I discuss my father’s decline here because there are many sons and daughters who are experiencing the same thing. My father was diagnosed with early onset dementia and his health is in rapid decline. Along with congestive heart failure and his diabetes his body simply is breaking down. However one thing I have witness in all of this is the human spirit. He is not ready to go though he is a very ill man. His children have made a collective decision that he and mom have to move near one of us. Since I can be deployed (and looks like we will be in Afghanistan until 2014) then the logical choice is moving our parents closer to my sister and she has taken this task head on.
This move will give my mother the peace of mind she desperately needs by living closer to one of her kids. Mom cares for my dad 24/7. Since she is unable to drive and the VA took his license they simply have to move near one of us though for years my dad dug in his heels. He wanted to die in that house and I understand that but when you live out in the country and there are no services whatsoever (buses, taxis and even the VA won’t bring a shuttle out there) the logical solution is moving near one of us kids.
It took years (and I mean years) to get my parents to this point. My sister will be our father’s power of attorney. She is an angel for doing all of this. I can never thank her enough.
Watching a parents decline makes me realize how important it is to ensure that end of life decisions are in place (such as life insurance, wills, etc). Unfortunately my parents do not have any of this and it will be up to his children to come up with the money to ensure a proper burial/cremation. (You do what you have to do when it’s blood.)
Because diabetes runs on both sides of my family (more prominent on dad’s and heart disease in both), knowing this means that his kids have NO excuse to NOT maintain health. And trust me I will. This means cleaning up my eating habits, continue exercising and simply having a more positive outlook on life.
A new beginning…..for all of us–a new chapter for my parents. It’s weird in that I grew up in that house back in Indiana since I was 7 and my sister has only known that home growing up, moving there right after she was born, was bought brand new. I can still remember the fresh smell of paint, new wood and carpet. Many years of happiness coupled with sadness but life is a dichotomy. How can you appreciate the good times unless you experience the bad?
My parents lived in the Hoosier state their entire marriage. 44 years…44 years it’s amazing. A new beginning for them both and hopefully my dad’s remaining time on this earth will not be chalked full of doctor’s appts., hospitalizations (I lost count how many times he has been admitted in the last couple of years). But as his children we simply want him to be pain free and at peace.