Stories of caring for elderly parents at the end of their lives while trying to maintain a life of your own.

Stories of a Life Past

“Thank God the war came along,” my dad said one evening in September 2011, as I tucked him into bed.

While no one wants a war to be the answer to any difficult situation, I found this comment hysterical, especially coming from a man who devoted his life to his nations as a Captain in the Naval Reserves. In that instant, I realized there were so many things I’d yet to learn about my dad.

In my childhood, I always thought my dad must have been […]

My Hero

On a dreary January morning in 1965, Sister Madonna announced, “Who wants to read their story about their hero first?”

Don, the green-eyed twelve-year-old hunk in our class, immediately raised his hand and took center stage.

“My hero is my father,” he stated proudly.

Dead silence followed. The room then broke out in snickers and sneers. I sat in disbelief, shocked. Don was one of the really cool kids. He was a great athlete, straight-A student, and the undisputed leader of our class. How could he pick […]

A Father’s Language of Love

“How is your dinner?” I asked my father one evening, as I spooned another forkful of spaghetti into his mouth. Chewing madly to get ready for the next bite, he simply nodded his head up and down.

Since my dad moved in with me six months ago, there seems to be less and less he can do for himself. Bodily functions and cleanups are tasks left to his caregivers. His vibrant, cornflower-blue eyes have dimmed like a 100watt light bulb losing its power. His once […]

Dating Advice From My Father

Now that I’ve gotten the diaper thing somewhat down having my daddy here is not as big an issue as I thought it might be. Mainly because he sleeps nearly twenty hours a day. But in those rare moments that he’s awake, we have some amazing talks.

Years ago, just after my mother passed away, we were having a conversation about dating. The fact that no one in my family had a significant other, including me. To this, my father immediately stated, “Oh, you’re done. […]

The Most Important Thing

My daddy finally arrived after a month of meticulous planning. At ninety-five, bringing just the right personal belongings was paramount. There was the hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, cane, prescription drugs to keep him awake and to help him sleep the special diet, and a few clothes.

Later in the evening, after a five-hour nap, he woke hungry for my home cooking. I found this flattering but humorous. I’m a lousy cook. After my mother passed away eight years ago, it’s been my father and the […]

The Last Visit

Driving the half hour trip to my childhood home, an overwhelming emotion brought me to tears. This would be the last time I came home to visit.

My parents bought this house as I was turning seven-years-old. For fifty-one years, it’s been the place where I held precious memories of my youth: the trees I climbed and hung out in for hours, the road to the hill I walked to sit and stare out over the Bay Area and think my thoughts, the bedroom where […]