It’s been a rough road the last nine months for my dad. My mom, whom he had been married to for 65 years, died at the end of September. Then her birthday rolled around in November, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas...a lot of holiday stuff that was very different for him, and all of us.
Then came January. My dad, my daughter, and myself, all have birthdays within a two week period beginning January 21, and typically celebrate together with a dinner at his house. That too was different this year.
About the time life began to slowly move on COVID-19 struck, and for him, being 87 years old, that meant strict quarantine.
He was lonely enough before the virus trapped him in his home, under his carport and in his yard, as well as banning him from even going to Sunday School and church, so quarantine has been tough. He’s also not very computer savvy, so trying to watch Facebook Live church services on Mom’s old iPad is a challenge most Sundays, and impossible on others.
And then on top of everything else last week his little dog got sick and had to be hospitalized over the weekend. That pretty much isolated him with no one, human or furry, to help pass the long days. It was especially difficult at night and in the mornings when he caringly prepares the dog’s food bowl and then sits with her, while encouraging her to clean her plate, before they take their walk.
He is also very bothered by the fact that he has not had a haircut in three months. So much so that I hacked off his ponytail a few weeks ago just to boost his spirits.
“It’s been 13 weeks,” he told me on the phone Monday, “since I’ve been anywhere. Thursday I think I might go out.”
“Where are you going to go,” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied, “maybe just the grocery store.”
Granted he and Peppi, the pup, have gone for rides to the cemetery and have made the loop around town quite a few times but it’s not the same. It’s not like going and sitting in the shop with his buddy C.L., or visiting the physical therapist whom he likes to talk with, or walking the aisles of the grocery store and seeing what kind of steaks have been “marked down for quick sale.”
He’s going to be pretty surprised if he does go “out” to the grocery store on Thursday and sees how the prices on things — especially in the meat market — have changed in the last 13 weeks. Thursday, by the way, is the day he is breaking out because that morning is when the long-awaited hair-cutting appointment is scheduled.
Thank the Lord!
There have been some additional “better days are coming” moments in the last week as Mom’s grave marker, which has been delayed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, was delivered and set up. Thank the good Lord for that too, since it is one less thing for Dad to worry about — he has stressed over it quite a bit — and one less thing for us to have to worry about him worrying about.
As for Peppi, she got out of the hospital on Monday so her return home has perked him up too. She was already chasing the stray cat that gives her fits by noon and she and dad were probably laid up in the recliner watching Dr. Phil at this writing. And although he didn’t say so, I expect they took a ride to the cemetery to see if Peppi approves of the headstone.
Their routine — our routine — has changed a lot in the last nine months. It changed big time in September. It changed though the holidays. It changed in January, and it really changed again in March.
This is Father’s Day weekend and perhaps it is as good of a time as any for Dad to get back out. Time to get back into a routine. It will be a changed again routine, but at least it is a routine.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!