During the month of March, I have been participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. I have started a new blog, inspired by the fact that I've been trying to do more creative writing This post is part of a series about gifts that I am working on, inspired by The Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed. My father had a serious accident eleven years ago and I have been trying to figure out a way to write about it ever since. I'm trying to through this series of memoirs about the gifts he has given me and my family members throughout our lives. Mostly, they are happy posts, but his accident was sad. This is the final post in this series. Thank you to those who have followed and provided feedback and encouragement. You have kept me going! Tomorrow, I promise my posts will lighten up.
For the first posts in the series, you would have to link up to tworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com.
Knowing That Moments Matter: An Important GiftI don't know how much to write about the first few months after his accident, but I think it's enough to say that they were hard, but he improved. Initially, we were told that we should hire full-time help and be prepared for lives of care-giving. However, the doctors didn't know my dad. They were shocked at the gains he made and they credited his high intelligence. My father is one of the smartest people I have ever known. When I think about his functioning levels in terms of a graph, he improved a lot in the first six months, stayed pretty level for a few years, and has slipped over the last five years.
For a couple of years, my father returned to work. He didn't do much, but his staff was thrilled to have in back in the office and his doctors reassured us that he was fine with tasks that were routine. Surgery was out of the question because he had crushed his optic nerve when he fell so he is blind in his left eye, but his partner kept a close watch on his work with patients and reported that his practice was perfect as far as regular office visits were concerned. However, he peaked about two years after his accident.
"Any sort of brain disease that he would have gotten at an older age would be accelerated by the brain injury," his neurologist explained to us.
His father died of Alzheimer's Disease. Many people don't realize that you can die of this disease but, it's possible. Eventually, you forget how to swallow and breathe. I sometimes wonder if I should cheer for his slow moving prostate cancer that we have been treating since before his accident.
In the post that began this series, I wrote about missing my father the most when he is riding in the passenger seat next to me. He always wants to come for a ride and he rarely speaks when he comes along. Throughout the process of remembering and writing about his gifts, I have come to realize the gift that he gives us now, and that is to appreciate our moments.
Dad doesn't remember this morning and he asks several times a day what plans we have in store for the evening. But he loves what he does when he is doing it. If there's a game to watch, he wants to come. A concert to attend, he wants to be there. A play, he's in. When his bus comes to take him to his "program", he is ready and thrilled to get on.
"How was your day, Dad?" we ask.
"I had a great day," he always says.
He means it, too. His moments matter, because that's what he has, and it's a wonderful lesson and a gift for us all to remember. Moments matter.
Enjoy your gifts,