Today is my Dad’s 94th birthday. This afternoon they will be having a party for him at the nursing home where he is a resident and we didn’t want him to miss that so on Monday I arranged to bring him to my house for a little private celebration.
Although Dad used to visit our home regularly he has not been here since Christmas of 2019 when he met a new great-grandchild, chatted with his grandchildren and enjoyed the holiday season with his family.
Then in March 2020, COVID struck and with it came strict isolation. For months Dad was stuck in his small assisted living suite with only the trees outside his window for company. Some short interactions with the kitchen staff in his building who brought food to his door were his only face-to-face human contact.
There were weeks and weeks when he was all alone and our only contact with him was by phone since the technology of FaceTime and other video communication was beyond him.
At times one masked family member could visit outside and sometimes in his room but Dad could not leave except for medical appointments.
During that time Dad’s dementia, which we had seen some early signs of before the pandemic, spiralled literally out of control. We had to move him two times to different facilities to meet his needs. He is now in a care home and communication with him has become challenging.
We have been able to take him on a few outdoor outings of late but I was so glad when his social worker agreed to let me take him to our home for a visit to celebrate his birthday.
My sister and her husband came too and we enjoyed cake and coffee. Dad even managed to blow out all of his candles.
Dad often finds it impossible to think of the words he would actually like to use but to his credit he can usually make words up when that happens. At one point during our time together on Monday, I asked Dad how he was doing and he said, “Oh you know. I’m just wraggling along.”
I looked it up and wraggling isn’t a word….. but maybe it should be. It implies that someone is moving along- there is some kind of action going forward but the road definitely has challenges and plenty of ragged edges. It is a journey not easy to wrangle.
I love my Dad’s new word and think it can describe the way many of us move through challenging times in our lives. We just wraggle along as best we can.
Looking At the Newspaper With My Dad