When he lived at The Plaza I would often stop in for a visit. A couple of conversations with Dad come to mind.
Wedding Ring – My dad had not worn his wedding ring for years, in a large part due to his construction job, but also possibly due to my parent’s rocky relationship. When Dad moved into the assisted living facility, he insisted on wearing his wedding ring. “I don’t want those widows thinking I’m available!”
I had trouble understanding my father when he was lucid; at this point I didn’t even try to figure out the wedding ring decision.
He was not happy I controlled his money. I gave him whatever cash he needed, but he was clearly annoyed. At times he was certain I hid his wallet. He got to the point where he could not write out checks, which I thought was just as well. (He tried to write out checks to various appeals he saw on TV; I was not thrilled with some of his choices.) He’d ask me to write out checks, I did for our local church, but held off on some other causes.
Clearly, I was the culprit in his financial situation.
Who is She?
He had trouble remembering our names. One time, when he was with all of my sisters and me, we asked him where he wanted to go eat. He pointed to me and said:
“Ask the Bossy One!”
Of course, my sisters thought it was hilarious, and still refer to me as “the Bossy One” from time to time.
Well — someone has to take charge!!!
He must have been pretty fond of me after all. Towards the end of his stay at The Plaza, he took me to his bookshelf and said he wanted me to have these horse bookends. He knew I liked horses, and he knew reading was a passion of mine. I’d like to think the horse bookends were something of a conciliatory gift. They sit on my bookshelf to this day, and I am very fond of the pair.
I stopped to see Dad one sunny afternoon. He was sitting in his favorite recliner; I curled up on the flowered couch. Mom came up in the conversation. Dad said (in his broken way of talking), “God’s been dealing with me. Your mom had a hard time of it. If I ever did anything that hurt her or made it worse, I’ve prayed God will forgive me.”
This meant a lot to me, bringing tears to my eyes. They had their share of difficulties, and hindsight gave him clarity, even through the fog of dementia.
I told this to my sisters after he passed away. Patty said this also meant a lot to her; our Dad really did have a tender heart, and never meant to do wrong to anyone.
Life gets messy, people are born into sin, and only made whole through Jesus.
While there is no marriage among humans in Heaven, I like to imagine my parents sitting together on a rock, looking at a flowing stream on a sunny day, and talking happily about how well their daughters turned out!