Our 007 Secret InCare Agent
It is Labor Day Weekend 2015, and every Labor Day Weekend (except 1) for the last 40 years, our family has had a major celebration and Pool Party to celebrate our Parent’s Wedding Anniversary and our youngest brother’s birthday – Yes, he was their Wedding Anniversary Present about 30 years ago.
Mom would start planning and making all the food the week before, and dad would take care of all the party logistics. Family from near and far, young and old friends, neighbors and work colleagues would come by at some point during the weekend celebration to congratulate the “newlyweds” anniversary, and yes – they always seemed like they were newlyweds.
Dad saw mom for the first time when he and his best friend were watching the town’s Carnival parade, and this beautiful young green-eyed brunette was the drum major leading the town’s biggest parade in an aqua blue uniform that sparkled with the sun rays. We still say that the sunshine reflecting off mom’s sparkle dress blinded dad for life, because it was love or maybe love with a little lust for dad at first site. He turned to his friend and asked how he could meet her, but his friend, who happened to be dating mom’s older sister told him “You don’t stand a chance, she knows your reputation as a playboy, so don’t even think about it”.
If you knew our Dad, you would know that the “You don’t stand a chance” only made him more committed to meeting and dating mom, so he ran to the end of the parade’s route, and waited for my mom to finish. He approached her and introduce himself. Mom was always polite, but she knew his reputation, so she said “Nice to meet you”, and didn’t give him the time of day beyond that.
Dad then went to her house, but Mom did not want to see him, so Dad started to create a friendship with our Grandmother. He came every day at sunset and brought fresh flowers to our Grandmother and talked to her for a while without ever asking to see our mom, but she would see him there every night – still not giving him the time of day. About a month later, our grandmother finally got mom to just talk to dad for a few minutes, and those few minutes turned into a 58+ year love affair.
About 2 years ago, a few days after a wonderful family Christmas gathering, Mom went in for what was supposed to be light surgery at our local hospital, but something went very wrong, and mom passed on unexpectedly. Dad, who had mom’s dress to come home with in his hands when he was told – fell to his knees and went into shock. The shock tuned out to be PTSD, and the PTSD accelerated the onset of Dementia.
We did not only loose Mom, but in an instant – we became Accidental Caregivers for Dad. We knew nothing about Caregiving nor how we were going to be able to care for dad from our homes – thousands of miles away.
It has been two years, and through many painful lessons, we have and continue to care for dad as his condition deteriorates. We went from a year ago being able to take him for walks in the beach or trips to the local casino to this labor day weekend where we are again celebrating, but this year’s celebration is about being able to get dad back from his second trip to the ICU in 10 days.
This Labor Day weekend will be tough, but it will be a celebration of the moment, a celebration of being with dad, and today we are starting the new celebration with this site.