Stories of caring for elderly parents at the end of their lives while trying to maintain a life of your own.
Standing at the window ready to perform in my white tutu and pink satin sash, I peered into the gray stillness of the day’s fading light, tapping my ballet slipper impatiently. Siegfried, the handsome prince in our version of “Swan Lake, ” was now an hour late.
“Where is he?” I mumbled anxiously, nearing the tipping point for an explosive outburst. Waiting to dance was never good for my five-year-old persona. But just as I was about to burst into tears, his shiny silver Oldsmobile […]
Excited at the thought that someone sent me a present, I clawed my way into the dark mailbox hole with feverish hands and sent a pile of bills tumbling to the ground. No sooner had I extracted the large white mail carton than disappointment stomped its steel-toed boot on my big toe. The bane of every mailbox’s existence had done it again. It was just a piece of junk.
Looking at the sample of powdered Similac formula, I was sure it was meant for another […]
On what’s typically considered the most important day in a young woman’s life, I stood in my long white dress, terrified about the vow I was about to take. Then, he walked into the room and took my breath away.
Proudly smiling and looking incredibly handsome in his new navy blue suit, the first man I ever loved, the man who loved me long before I was born, engulfed me in his usual bear hug and asked, “Honey, are you ready?”
“I’m scared, Dad,” was all […]
I felt my fists curl into a ball as I prepared to cold-cock my father’s caregiver across the face. “What do you mean he’s an old man?” I hissed.
She took my hand and smiled. “Jackie, your dad is 94. He is old.”
Stepping back, I re-evaluated the situation. He was incapable of caring for his basic daily needs. Debilitated by a stroke he had suffered 26 years before, he no longer had the use of his legs and left arm. The aging process had naturally […]
On the rocky beach of the Russian River in 1987, my four-year-old, Jenni tip-toed over hot, sun-drenched pebbles and darted towards me. Freckles intensified in the brilliant afternoon rays, her moon-shaped face beamed with childish excitement.
“Mommy,” she began, breathlessly. “When you die, can I have that bathing suit?”
Stunned, I studied my second child while tanning my body in a lime green bikini.
How could she be thinking of such things? I wondered. At thirty-four, do I look like I’m close to death?
But peering into her […]
After decades of blissful retirement, I recently found myself reviving a career I’d left behind thirty years prior. It was 2011, and I was back to being a DSS, otherwise known as a derriere sanitation specialist. Yes, I was back to changing diapers, only, this time, it wasn’t for a sweet little baby, but instead for my 95-year-old father.
When dad moved in with me in June 2011, I knew there’d be challenges for both of us. For him, it would be his complete loss […]