He loves it, one more thing to help him stay in his home. He recovered from his stroke a few years back better than anyone thought, but he now has a hard time standing and sitting without a little help. Every morning, he gets up and gets settled in it and reads the daily message from "Our Daily Bread" and then the Bible. That's something he's done every day since retirement after his morning work out (Dad was a Golden Glove Boxer and still has a very strict exercise regiment that included swimming and Nautilus at the YMCA with my Step-Mom well into their late 80's. Then it's time to get dressed and get about enjoying the day. I provide a full-time home health nurse (do not ask what that costs) so he can stay in the home he's outlived two kids and two wives in. They make sure laundry and housework are done, prepare a hot meal every day, and play board and card games with him or take him for a drive. Myself, his oldest grandaughter and my cousin have invited him to live with us but he wants to die in this house he's had for 60 years.
But dang, I was hoping for an auto-launch feature that would get me airborne.
Initiate Launch Sequence! (that's it??)
It has the previous living room carpeting down over the original harvest gold linoleum now and the drapes have been updated. But much is unchanged. The 1970's fixtures for the fluorescent lights that Dad crafted by hand. Still there. That Mexican hat on the Wall? A VERY embarrassing River dance gone South episode from some tap recital of mine. The barre built into the wall where I did my ballet warm-ups was removed and replaced with paneling. It was there under the kitchen window that Mom once took out with a golf ball from the backyard when that was the back window to the house. Fore! (hey, I didn't know Mom knew that other word!)
The couch is new, but the quilt is one my Mom crocheted in the 70's. There is another one, but it sits in my linen closet at the Range, where I can occasionally hold it, smell the scent of Chanel No. 5 that only exists in my memory. It's where I can remember her hands working away on it while we kids watched westerns on TV and tried to outshoot Marshall Dillon with our little cap guns under the watchful eye of our Lord.
The small bath by the family room, though, was in dire need of help. It was always the "utility" bathroom, old faded paint, bare window, no storage at all, and small and hard to get around in as there was nothing for him to hold onto if his balance or strength waned. But it's the one he uses the most.
Before he died, Big Bro took care of the construction and I took care of the paint and the decorating.
He cared for her in his home through that, until her death, years more than we expected, but not easy years for him. But as she was his cross, she was also his salvation and he refused to put her in a nursing home, even when she acted out in anger against her children, not recognizing her own life, but somehow, always recognizing him.
But after she was gone, he changed his mind. His Mom was from Indy, and he enjoyed it there, but he didn't want to leave where he's lived all these years. He wanted to stay where his memories are, good or bad, in his own church, in that old house. I understood and sold the place I had bought, at a loss, but one I gladly bore.
This is the home in which his memories reside, in every furnishing that's 30, 40, 60 years old. There have been other houses, for summer vacations and the old family home in Montana, but this modest little place was always the center of the family. Outside, is the bed of my Mom's rose garden, replanted with other flowers now, yet still containing for him, those pink and red and coral buds and blossoms, long after they've fallen to dust, no more dead to him than the hands that tended them, the drops of blood they sometimes drew.
My room at home is virtually unchanged and that was not by my request, but his will. Photos of family and family and extended family all around. The rainbow I painted on my walls in junior high. Dad said I could, but I had to use leftover paint which is why my rainbow is every shade of totally tacky 1970's paint we had. (yes, we had rooms painted those colors!)
He knows his days are short, we all do. But he's very happy, lousy view and all. The pastor comes and gives him communion regularly. His neighbors have him over for meals and their children come and play board and card games with him. I fly out as often as I can, becoming an expert on the cheap air-fares (how many stops?) My step brother and his wife drive three hours to take him to lunch. My cousin Liz drives up from California several times a year (her partner's Moms live an hour from Dad). He has friends, good ones, but new ones, as all of his original group has passed on. He still works out each day, including an exercise bike and he eats very well with a hot meal daily from the sweet ladies that are his home health aides and the snacks and small meals I leave for him in little freezer containers between visits.
I can't say what the future will bring, but one thing my brother and I both agreed on before he left us. Dad has outlived two beloved wives and two children (he and Mom lost a baby when they were first married) and I'm going to fight to make sure he does not experience any more loss of what he holds dear.