A typical day

The first couple of mornings after Dad got home from the hospital, I got up first thing in the morning to start helping to take care of him, but I was getting behind on my quiet time with the Lord, so I have gotten back to spending the first part of my morning in my room reading my Bible and praying. I think that time has been important for self-care and helping me focus on what’s important throughout the day.

The last few mornings, I’ve been finding Dad sitting up on the couch looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. That’s the best time of day for him to sort through paperwork and get things done although it doesn’t seem to be getting done very quickly. Dad will be looking for something and Elaine and I search the house until one of us finds it and brings it to him.

They play the Jimmy Swaggert station on TV all day, sometimes with the sound on and sometimes muted. Both Dad and Elaine nod off periodically throughout the day and that’s when I check my emails and texts from all of you. I sure do appreciate all the prayers you have been making on our behalf!

Elaine told me that Dad sometimes teases that he has a choir that follows him around all day because Elaine often hums or sings hymns. I join her on the ones I know. She told me today that it helps her mental health to sing hymns throughout the day.

Elaine had an eye appointment after lunch this afternoon. Once a month, she gets a shot in one of her eyes to try to save her eyesight. It stings for a day after the shot and her eye tears up, but she says it feels better by the next day.

Today was Aunt Sannie’s birthday, but the card Elaine sent a couple of days ago was returned by the post office for some reason, so after 4:00, I gave Dad my cousin’s number and he called and talked with Sannie. She said her family was going to take her out for a hamburger. They live way out in the country on a farm, but my cousin Kristine said that Sannie wanted a hamburger for her birthday, so they were going to take her out for one. Would that we could all be satisfied so easily. The world would probably be a much better place!

Then my sister Lauryn called Dad. She’s trying to call him every day when I let her know that he is particularly alert. She told Dad that she will be sending some papers that the hospice nurse needs to fill out to let her school know that Dad is really in hospice. That’s the only way she’ll be able to spend more time up here without losing her job.

Today was a day of Dad telling me stories between naps. I’m beginning to wish I had a recorder so that I could record him telling stories about his life. Today was the first time I found out that when he was young, the other kids nicknamed him Windy. He said it was supposed to be a derogatory nickname, but he didn’t mind it. He was small for his age, so he learned to talk his way out of getting beat up at school. He was studious and a deep thinker from a young age.

Another story that Dad told tonight was about trying to find a place for him and Mom to live so that they could get married. He only made $200 a month working in his dad’s print shop and that was about what apartments were renting for. There had been talk that maybe the church could build a Kwanza hut at the end of the street and turn part of it into an apartment and the other part into a print shop for the church, but nothing came of that. The church had been built right on the ground with no foundation, so the next idea was that Dad would crawl through a small window into the crawl space under the church that was only big enough for him to lay on his stomach and he started digging and throwing the dirt out of the window where the other men would take it away. He had finally dug a big enough hole that another person could stand down there with him and help shovel, and the church set up a conveyor belt on a truck to take away the dirt that they threw out the window. But this process was taking way too long. Dad desperately wanted to marry Mom and live with her as soon as possible. There was an old house next to the church where the elderly couple had died. Their daughter lived in Seattle and she kept having to come down to Portland to check that the house wasn’t being vandalized while she was dealing with probate court. She finally asked Dad’s mom if she knew of anyone who would live in the house for free until she could get everything settled in court. Mom and Dad were finally able to get married and they moved into the house, uncertain how long they would be able to stay there, but they ended up being able to live there for 6 years. That’s where my older sister spent the first 5 years of her life.

Elaine has been telling me stories about her life too. We got to talking about bullies when we were school-aged and I started talking about my first year in 6th grade (I had to repeat 6th grade) when not only my classmates but my teacher, Mr. Dyke (appropriately pronounced Dick), put me down. Elaine said that she had been bullied so badly in one school that her parents took her out of the school and moved her to a Christian school where she fared much better. These experiences stick with kids throughout their lives. I’m closer to 70 than to 60 and I still nearly cried when talking about what had happened to me in 6th grade. It’s good when Elaine and I find we have things in common!

One thought on “A typical day

  1. Denise, what a good idea to record your dad telling his stories! Perhaps you could use your phone to do the recording.
    I’m really glad you and Elaine are finding things you have in common that you can talk about! It must not be easy to stay there all the time with no car. That would be tough for me!
    It is sad to think of things kids do and say to each other which cause painful memories that last the rest of our lives.

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