On June 10, 2011, my 91-year-old father passed on. Almost to the day – one year prior – we’d moved him into an assisted living facility. This blog (below) was written soon after that event.
In June 2010, my 91-year-old father moved into assisted living. It’s been a flurry of activity, closing up his house, moving him to a new place, getting things settled, and dealing with the 101 details of his life. As his POA, the details seem to be endless.
Making all this ever more difficult is the fact that my father made many poor choices in life, such as walking out on my mother and me in 1974. I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, Forgiving our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves was one of the best books I ever read. I highly recommend it.
In 2001, after my father’s second wife died, my father reentered my life bit by bit. He was 82 years old.
Now he’s 91, and old and frail and needs a lot of help on a lot of fronts. Sometimes, despite my daily prayers and best efforts and dogged determination, there are days when I still feel angry with him.
When we were cleaning out his house, we found a baby book – his baby book – from 1919. I’d expected to find a few loose photos stuck within its brittled pages. Instead, I found an incredibly detailed record of a little boy’s life from June 1919 to sometime in 1926. The “baby book” was filled with vintage photos and detailed information and stories and even a locket of baby’s hair, safely ensconced in a tiny envelope with a delicate blue ribbon.
Looking at the handwritten notes, I saw my father in a new light. More than 90 years ago, he was someone’s beloved baby boy. This cute little baby, smiling back at me from the faded-pages of an antique book, warmed my heart and softened the wrath I’d felt.
I’ve heard it said that the kindest thing we can do for our heavenly Father is to be kind to his children. It occurs to me that – in addition to the divine command – perhaps the kindest thing I can do for my paternal grandparents is to be kind to their youngest son, their beloved little boy, Thomas.