Monday, May 10, 2010

The Dignity of Life – Carol Bly

Carol Bly - April 16 1930 – December 21 2007

Researching Carol Bly, I discovered what a remarkable woman/writer she was. She was a powerful literary force and an overall wonderful person. It was said that she caused readers and writers to open their eyes to the realities of the situation.

Turning this story into the lesson that I am seeking from the BASS series wasn’t too hard. I am in the stage of my life now, where happily, a new life is beginning and will make a major impact on my life, but sadly, there are a couple of family members whose lives are winding a speed that is very unsettling.

I’ve written in several posts about my fathers Alzheimer’s disease. I don’t think I need to tread over that ground again. I think I have also mentioned my step-fathers more recent health issues.

But, Bly has done a wonderful job at doing what she does best.

Pat (step-dad) is 88. He is old, and he’s not doing well. He has reached point in his life where things just aren’t working for him anymore. He is partially deaf, and blind in one eye. He has limited mobility, and his mental state is...well...deteriorating. Life is hard for my mother now who must wait on him 24 hours a day. Simply, she has a newborn on her hands once again.

My father is 64 - early onset Alzheimer’s. He called me yesterday on 3 separate occasions. Each call was for the same thing. Call one, I spoke to him and had a conversation about his books. Call two, I missed. Call three was a five minute voice mail from him again about his books. The voice mail was him simply asking me the same question he had asked about 4 hours earlier – just rambling on and on.

With my father and with Pat, we are working at making sure that there is still some dignity of life.

We all attempt to treat both of them the same that we always have but it can be quite stressful and sad at times.

We hold those that we love sometimes in our minds at an age that we love them the most in...or wish to remember them the best way in.

I don’t know if I phrased that correctly, but what I mean to say, is that I have trouble seeing my father as he is now. I choose to see him when he was 55. When he was able to remember what he was doing as he walked from one room to another. When he came to visit me in Romania and we took off to Italy for a week – no cares in the world.

And I remember Pat, making sauce in the kitchen, watching the fights on T.V., listening to Jazz in his Buick Regal – left arm out the window holding a cigar.

These life changes for the two of them have come on so quickly that it has caused all of us in the family to work hard at making the adjustments.

It is important for us to honor these two men and to respect them. To hold their memories and to always remember what they did for us.

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