by the Artist
I've been away. The Carpenter had to take care of business, home and puppy duties on his own. While I spent two weeks in Pennsylvania helping my Dad transition into life without my Mom– who passed last July. What I anticipated being two weeks of clearing out clothes, light organizing and throwing expired items out of the frig.. ended up being two weeks of dealing with my Dad's mounting health concerns.
I had a crash course in senior issues.
Doctor visits, scans, PT, senior community housing tours and looking into when long term care insurance could be activated occupied my days. It broke my heart to see my 6'3" executive father in a weakened state. And harder yet to see my sister struggle to handle all the crisis' as the "first responder". (she lives near by)
We had a nurse visit the last day I was there to do an evaluation on my Dad and his home. She just shuddered at how dangerous his home is. No light for the stairwell to the second floor! area rugs, narrow crowded pathways and a large step-in tub. Not to mention the beautiful 3 acre property is a landmine of tree roots and uneven ground. What made this home so beautiful is now a hazard to my father.
He wants to stay there.. not sure how that will shake out. In the meantime we need to make the house as safe as possible. Lighting for the second floor staircase, a lift chair for both staircases (one for the basement), clearing furniture clutter, somehow simplifying his complicated lifestyle.. he's always loved antiques, feeding the birds and working in the yard.
It's gonna be a huge job. A bigger change. But one that is doable if done with sensitivity and firm positive steps.
Hopefully my Dad can stay where he lives for the foreseeable future. He will be able to continue enjoying the birds, deer and turkeys and putter around. If we can make his environment safe, and get him the in-home care that he will need.
One thing I noticed about the house. It has lost its heart. My Mother was the heart of the home. She had a lovely warm decor style and a soft presence. I always looked forward to her big smile when I arrived from Minnesota. She was always so happy to see me. And she never complained about anything. Never made me feel guilty for living so far away. I missed her terribly this visit.
I'm sure I will be heading back to PA sooner then later. It's hard being 1200 miles away. I wish I could bring the Carpenter along in my suitcase to help. And maybe the snack manager to brighten the day with her antics!