I don't know that I'm the same person who wrote in June.
But that is probably a good thing.
In the middle of July my dad had "the fall." The one I had been hoping we could avoid, if only... Well, as Beloved told me when I called from the hospital in New Jersey, the time for "if only" is past, and the time for "what's next?" has arrived.
What came next for my dad:
A week in the hospital.
Several weeks of rehab in a wonderful facility in my town--midway, as it happened, between my work and my home. He loved it. He loved the people. He loved the food. He loved Physical Therapy.
Then, the flood. A fairly terrifying (though very well-executed) evacuation from Wonderful Facility to another place--place that, like all subsequent places, would be compared (unfavorably) to Wonderful Facility.
A week later, a move to another wonderful Assisted Living facility.
Three weeks later (we're in late September now), two hospitalizations, one after another, for undiagnosed episodes of unconsciousness that resulted in our being told that dad need a skilled nursing facility.
Finally, an move to said facility, the dementia unit, because that seems to be progressing rapidly.
Dad is doing ok. He is at that stage in which he knows something is wrong ("Will I ever get my brain back?"), and is distressed about it. He can no longer walk unassisted by either a walker or helpers. He is encouraged to be as independent as he can, but help is a buzz away. He is encouraged to take part in all manner of activities, which he does, they tell me, with a very open and fun-loving nature.
When I see him, what comes through is his sadness and distress.
Today I am several hundred miles away, at Petra's Parents Weekend, the first of her college career. As of a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling fairly burned out by an intense summer of transitions and my new role as caregiver for my dad. On top of all this, my church was affected by the flood, both to our physical structure (many thousands of dollars in damage, plus damage or total loss to the homes of many members) and to our lives as a community. I had cut my study leave short in the summer (when my dad had his fall), and Beloved and I had cancelled our September vacation together, scheduled as it had been immediately after the flood.
I learned of a conference in a city roughly halfway between my town and Petra's college. I signed up for it. And so I took three days of study leave, followed by three days of vacation. I am on day five of my time away, sipping a skim latte in the coolest coffeehouse I've ever found. (Petra tells me I've logged enough hours here to officially be considered a student.) We will meet (for her breakfast and my lunch) in a little while.
Tomorrow I will drive home, to my Beloved and my church community, and, energized, I will begin preparations for Reign of Christ/ Thanksgiving Sunday.