Monday, June 03, 2013

Papa's new perspective


I only just noticed, now that it's on the big screen, that my dad is holding a dandelion, or two, in his hand in these pictures. I'm quite sure he didn't actually bend down to pick them, but Isla, his grandflowerchild, gave them to him as an offering of love and kindness and, I'm guessing, respect.

Their affection is mutual and not remotely affected by the fact that my father's short-term memory has been riddled by the degenerative effects of Alzheimer's.

In fact, my dad is more on the level of his grandchildren than ever before. More able to be and stay in the moment, each moment as it comes to him in steady increments, unfurling like a ball of string he's released from his own hand.  He has no agenda, at least not an inflexible one. He's always free to engage, to detain, to entertain. The perfect Grandpa.

There is no longer any pesky recent past to mull over and stew and discover regrets about. A blessing and a curse.



Be here now.

He is my walking Bhudda, gratitude- master of a dad. Stopping, always stopping, to remember what's gone right in his life, smelling the apple blossoms, accept the Dandelion bouquets, and comment on the pervasive green, the teeming perfection, that surrounds him.

Content to admire the miracle of trees that have been here, rooted deep, as long as he has-- standing straight and present, the model of persistence, in the woods, meadows, and hillsides he calls his own.




20 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow.

(signed nancy k)

Marcy A. said...

Love this: "Stopping, always stopping, to remember what's gone right in his life, smelling the apple blossoms, accept the Dandelion bouquets, and comment on the pervasive green that surrounds him." A good reminder for us all.

Laree said...

My dad just turned 73. It has astounded me as he's aged at just how content he is with life.

Growing up he was a very picky you'll-do-it-my-way-or-suffer personality.

Now he just wants to see the grandkids smile. And he'll just smile right back.

I want more of that in my life.

jill said...

xo. love you Bets.
Once again you have made my eyes sweat.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post, Betsy!

KiminAZ

Iris said...

My father is experiencing alzheimer's, too. Thank you for this heartwarming perspective on the "bright side" of memory loss. It enhances the "sweet" in the bittersweet feelings I have about my father's aging.

Anonymous said...

My eyes are sweating too, profusely. Thank you Betsy, again, for your amazing interpretation of life around you.
Keep talking, we're listening.

Danielle

Kathleen Trail said...

Thank you for this – I've been faced head-on with my mom's aging this past week and your words have made acceptance of that a little easier. And a little tearier. :)

korinthia said...

That's beautiful. Thanks for sharing this post.

Kingsmom said...

Beautiful!

Seamingly Sarah said...

How lovely to see the blessings in life. I just got back from a run where I spent the first mile having a pretend argument with someone in my head (where I was right of course) and the second mile kicking myself and choosing to see the blessings, not the curses.

Betsy said...

Seamingly Sarah: Thanks for the giggle. Believe me, I do that every day. Yin and Yang. Up and down. Ebb and flow. Gratitude has never been a constant in my life, or perhaps it has: a constant challenge.

Betsy said...

Laree. Sounds like your father took the same trajectory as mine. For mine, it had a lot to do with retiring, and losing that source of constant stress of owning and running a business. His temperament changed a lot in his late 60s and continued to soften progressively.

richa said...

Hey betsy...amazing posts...i couldnot show my gratitude for the things in our lifes...

parenthoodaworkinprogress said...

Oh my goodness, Betsy, what a coincidence, I was just this morning, no joke, thinking to myself out of nowhere "Betsy Shaw should really write more about her experiences with her father, because she wrote about it so beautifully before, and so many people are going through parents getting older, memory loss, etc..." And mere hours later, I see this post from you. Maybe we had a mind connect or something. Hugs to you. Keep on writing about this, if you want or can.

Betsy said...

Parenthood: That's neat. Well, here you go. Believe me, it's often on my mind, this odd new chapter, this odd new turn in my relationship with my father and his relationship with my kids. Writing about it is a given, in time.

Jlynn said...

My father also has Alzheimer's and he. Does great with the grandchildren. I sometimes feel robbed as my kids are so young that I am not sure how much of him they will really get to enjoy. He just lost his brother at 85 to this wretched disease so he knows what is to come and that hurts him. It is nice to see someone talk about their experience with a positive point of view.

Lara said...

Just beautiful, Betsy.

Tia said...

I used to read your blog all the time, when I was frequenting the babycenter boards. But then, my girl grew, and I needed babycenter less, and well, I lost track of your blog.

I found you again. Your girls have grown up beautifully!

Perry said...

Nice One..Thanks for sharing the article.