The call came
at 4 a.m. Tuesday.
“Your father’s on his way
to the hospital
in an ambulance.”
He had fallen again.
I drove to Warsaw where our youngest brother
was already watching over Dad’s care.
Dad was weak and disoriented,
unable to stand, much less walk.
He has improved slightly day by day,
but this morning he’s being transferred
to a skilled care setting.
I find it difficult to have him make this transition,
to make the transition with him.
But this is the next step,
the appropriate step,
the responsible step.
But, oh, it’s sad to watch,
sad to participate in.
His world keeps narrowing,
as he’s no longer able to see well,
or hear well, or think well.
Life still beats within him,
yet he makes it clear that he’s ready
to let life go.
For some of us,
this is where our caregiving inevitably leads.
Despite our best efforts,
the one in our care will not always get better.
All our love and assistance will not reverse
what has been set in motion
within the body and the mind.
As the one in our care surrenders
to that unavoidable journey,
we must surrender alongside them.
As we practice this letting go,
maybe we can find comfort in coming to believe
that this is not just a letting go of,
but a letting go into.
Into a place where memories and dreams
begin to unite in ways they never have.
Into a space that allows for a quiet, gentle preparation
for the completion of this pilgrimage on earth.
Into a territory that has plenty of expanse
for received grace, for gathered meaning,
and for ageless love.
When I began this writing,
I visualized our leading Dad
on that next leg of his journey.
As I conclude this writing,
I see Dad leading all of us
on the journey that we will all take,
that we are all well into already.
He is a wonderful guide.
May you have your wonderful guides too.
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