My two brothers and I, with our children, have all descended on the Florida town where my parents are renting an apartment for the winter. My mother’s desire to take my father, who at 90 years of age, is wheelchair bound, out of the apartment for meals, movies, and tonight for s’mores, knows no bounds.
Whose life is this anyway? I went from living my new gay life with a sense of freedom, joy, and fun to caring for my wife who was dying of cancer, caring for my father who is dying of old age, caring for my son who found himself accused of hazing, and working with my siblings to clean up my fathers estate, which is a mess.
My father, at 90 years old, is at the end of his life and can no longer do, what the health care industry calls, “the activities of daily living”. Dad can not walk unassisted; needs to be catheterized to pee; needs someone to wipe him after going to the bathroom; needs help dressing and getting up or down from a chair; needs to be held while he walks so that he does not fall. The last activity of daily living which he still can do is to feed himself, but even that function is rapidly fading. He is sleeping fifteen to eighteen hours a day. The one good thing about this part of his life is that he is not in pain and seems happy.
My grandfather was, what they used to call, a natty dresser. Natty is an old fashioned term for someone who is smart and fashionably dressed. My grandfather was always beautifully groomed. There are movies and photographs of him and my grandmother visiting our home for birthdays, holidays, and other events. He was usually dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and bow tie. He was a tall, thin man, who was mostly bald when I knew him, with gold wire rimmed glasses and a cane to help him walk. Continue reading →
In my work I have often prided myself at being able to look at a project and know from the onset if it would be a success or a failure. This same projecting into the future and imagining what will be has always been a part of my life. I can often look at a situation and see the key outlines or framework of what it will be in the future, even if I can not see the details.
Today is the anniversary of my grandmothers death. She died March 4th 2004 at the age of 100. Tomorrow I will visit her grave, a ritual I do whenever I am in South Florida. She is buried next to my grandfather, whom I never knew. My grandfather died five years before I was born of a massive heart attack. Continue reading →
Somehow the tradition of thanksgiving, with the abundance of food, plates heaped full of food, a myriad of deserts, and that stuffed slick feeling later, has always seemed to me a very strange tradition. It is not that I do not like all the wonderful foods. Some of my favorite food traditions are at thanksgiving. It is just the abundance and “consuming mass quantities of food” that always seemed over the top to me. Continue reading →