I recall at least two nights leaving Dad at that first nursing home and crying all the way home.
One night I started to cry when I left his room. I wondered why no one looked at me or stopped me as I walked out the front door with tears streaming down my face. I suppose people often cry as they go out the front door of a carehome.
No Going Back
At first we were hopeful he may be able to go back to The Plaza. The Plaza staff even said, “Let us try to take care of him, this is his home.”
But as the weeks wore on, we realized this was it; there was no going back.
He still shuffled through the halls, although his shuffling became a slow gate. As time went on, he could barely form words, much less a sentence. His few words either did not make sense, or they were like those of a small child – hot, cold, water.
A Slow Grieving Process
Yet another night I found myself crying on the freeway, driving home.
I cried for my strong, independent dad, that should be laughing and telling stories with his buddies.
I cried for past years of family life that were now gone. No more stories about his childhood, or what it was like to be in business for himself. No more shared history.
I cried because now I couldn’t talk through my feelings with my dad. I couldn’t tell him I was hurt when he left my mom, or when he didn’t pay attention to his business.
A couple of years later I was lamenting this point to my youngest sister. She pointed out men in Dad’s generation were not exactly touchy-feely. Kind, caring, but not touchy-feely. He probably had no idea I had all these unanswered questions (and of course, it would have been far too direct of me to verbalize my feelings.)
I know now he loved me, even though he probably did not understand me, as I did not exactly understand him. A good dance doesn’t have to be in perfect harmony.