UPDATE ON BUDDY – THE NEW PUP
August 21. 2015 – I wrote about Buddy last October. You know the kind of rescue dog you pick up off the street? Sweet, kind, grateful for anything or everything you do for them? Not our Buddy. Granddaughter Kristina was holding a small animal on her lap while talking to her mother the day after Ken passed. At first I thought it was Gouda the cat. Looking closer I said, “That looks like a dog.” It was a pup. Kristina had found him and his three sisters dumped under a bush while visiting a friend. By evenings end she had given the females to a few of her friends. She brought the male home and we decided he could stay naming him Buddy in remembrance of Ken whose family nick-name had been Buddy all of his life. We counted back from October 4 and calculated his birth to be near today. It is also the birth date of my daughter Deborah, Kristina’s mother.
He has grown by leaps and bounds, but often believes he can still fit under a chair. He can’t, but he is tall enough when he stands on his hind legs to check out the counter. Often he helps himself to whatever he sees. It doesn’t even have to be food. Just something that might make a good toy. Anything not put in its proper place is up for grabs and many carelessly dropped shoes has been found in the backyard or in his bed, or what was left of a shoe. He is naughty more than he is not naughty, and has been disciplined accordingly. Meanwhile, does anyone have suggestions for single shoes?
Nothing seems to distract him from looking for toys. Buddy has chewed up Kristina’s mail, miscellaneous papers and soiled laundry. The other day he chewed up the remote control. Perhaps that’s a good thing. I have read that for everyone using a remote to switch channels can expect to gain at least ten pounds during the year. Exercise is good for the viewer and me. I am now getting my share of exercise having to get up from the sofa and switch to another channel.
He steals bread, half-made sandwiches, large pieces of cheese and a bag of peaches which he thoroughly enjoyed being careful not to eat the pits. He even tried a package of chewing gum which he didn’t like. All five sticks were abandoned where he had opened the pack.
Kristina buys him toys and like a child we find that he quickly grows tired of them and wants something new. For a while we were able to convince him that an empty plastic soda bottle or soda cans, a stick, a lumber scrap, or water bottle was a toy. They appeared satisfactory for a time, but soon the pup decided that anything he could reach on the counter or a nearby desk was more fun.
NEW TOYS HELP — SOMETIMES
He found my open purse and the little smarty that he is lifted my wallet from its place and proceeded to chew on that. I found it in the hall with credit cards spilled all over the floor and one wallet end torn open. A new wallet will be on my Santa list come Christmas. I complained to son Keith who reminds me that he is still a baby. Buddy knows a lot of words, but isn’t always sure what he’s supposed to do with his growing vocabulary.
He has done well with crate training and now goes into the crate on very hot days and when he thinks he’s going to be in trouble. I guess it’s his way of an apology – taking a “time out” without even being told.
A LITTLE GRATITUDE WOULD HELP
Thinking back on all the pups we’ve had during Ken’s and my many years of marriage, Buddy is the most expensive. All of our dogs have been rescue dogs, even puppies. None have ever been so joyful in their mischief. Previously, I was certain that their good behavior was gratitude because they were rescued from an unknown future. I suppose no one has told Buddy that his future as an abandoned dog wasn’t looking too good under that bush, and that when he was accepted as part of the family he was to show his gratitude by not being “Destructo dog.”
ENJOY THEM, BUT DON’T MAKE IT A HABIT
August 14, 2015 – The other evening after dinner for one I sat poking at my dessert wondering if I should be eating it at all. It was a warmed piece of apple pie with a squirt-on cream topping. I certainly didn’t need it. Furthermore, I reminded me, it wasn’t in keeping with my year’s goal of reinventing a new me, but the pie was very good. So I indulged myself and enjoyed not only the pie, but the moment. I did savor the flavor of every bite. I just won’t do this every night.
MOMORIES OF THE PAST
Life is made up of moments, good and not so good, but it’s remembering the good moments that can buoy us up in times of sadness and sorrow. As we grieve the loss of a loved one, especially a spouse, your best friend, your love and the other parent of your children, it’s only natural to be melancholy during the long process of recovery following a death. Grief needs to take as long as it needs to heal. There is no time limit even though outward signs may indicate that all is well. Like an old song from our youth, “I’m laughing on the outside, crying on the inside, cause I’m still in love with you.” For me, I’ll add another line,“And I miss you so much — your face, your smile, your kiss, your touch.”
Memory takes me to places of comfort. It takes me there with thoughts of better times before Alzheimer’s: blessings to recall, especially those involving fun events with family. The little ones we brought into the world who are now grown have become my rocks of support. I remember, however, that they deserve to enjoy their own lives without constant annoyances or intrusions from me, so I am careful in expressing my needs or asking for help when I can manage it myself. After all, I have always prided myself as being a strong, independent woman.
NICE TO VISIT, BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO LIVE THERE
Visiting the bygone days, and reliving some of those moments can bring joy and comfort, but you don’t want to live there. It is what it is: the past. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go there or that the grieving is gone. I don’t believe the loss of a spouse, or other loved ones, is ever without sorrow or musing over what is gone. The better part of what is left in life can be productive and can be a renewal of happiness. Moving on with life is what’s important. There is no rushing the grieving process, but once the year of events, holidays and anniversaries has been met one of the difficult passages is accomplished, and there is a future waiting beyond the horizon.
The philosophers have defined our periods of time. We have the past which is gone, and we have the future, but it isn’t here yet, and we have the present. That’s where we need to be, living and enjoying the present – the moment. It’s what is here right now and it’s all we really have. That’s why they call it a gift. So go out there; live and enjoy the gift, the present — the moment. And every once in a while, a memory.
May 1, 2015 – In my last post I mentioned the father of one of my young friends, and how he had closed
his bank account without anyone in the family knowing what he had done. Furthermore, the money is still nowhere to be found. That’s why it has been assumed that someone swindled it from Dad, and Dad, trusting and friendly, possibly only thought someone was being helpful.
CON JOBS – AS OLD AS THE HILLS
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are unscrupulous in their dealings with their fellow man or woman. Our loved ones with AD often fall victim to these dishonest predators preying on the child-like innocence of demented older people, their confusion, their forgetfulness, their rust and their disease. It really doesn’t take much observation to notice when someone is not fully aware of his or her surroundings, and often the original ploy of the con job can be presented long before the actual swindle.
CHANGES FOR DINNER
AUGUST 7, 2015 – During my career as a homemaker and the mother of five little ones, now grown, I learned how to change my shopping habits from just the two of us: husband and wife, during the years of our marriage to seven. The first few years of our life together meant shopping for just us, which had been relatively easy, as was cooking for two. Then there were three, then four, five, six and finally seven. More food, one Refrigerator and soon the addition of a freezer stocking our larder with supplies to keep our growing family well fed.
DOWNSIZING THE FOOD THING
Life roared by as if we were caught in a whirl wind. Our children dropped off and out of our house nearly as quickly, or so it seemed, as they had arrived, until all of them had chosen lives of their own. With each departure the grocery bill grew smaller and smaller, never returning, though, to the economical dollar value of our early marriage. The new sum in my budget had been dramatically impacted by the times and inflation. Just as .27 cents per gallon for gasoline was a thing of the past so was .18 cents for a quart of milk something to remember from another era.
Fortunately the budget change had been a gradual thing and salaries unheard of in the 50s and 60s managed to keep living expenses fairly well-balanced for us. I shopped and prepared meals for two, always inviting Ken’s caregivers to join in our meals. They politely refused because dinner was waiting at home after the day’s work.
I found it difficult to downsize when I shopped. There is a mental set about having a large family, and always buying the large, economical size. It’s a difficult habit to break. That’s what mama always taught when we three girls were growing up: do comparative shopping. Read the labels and check the math when it came to prices, ounces and pounds.
As the years of Ken’s illness continued, even when I continued to cook for two I found myself making smaller portions as Ken, with his Alzheimer’s just wasn’t eating as much as he did before. With Alzheimer’s loss of appetite was often one of the early signs his condition was in the last stages, and then suddenly, he was gone.
DINNER FOR ONE
My cooking has changed. So is the way I shop. I no longer buy the large tubs of cottage cheese for example. I buy the smallest tub and while buying the small one is not in keeping with mama’s rule, it is still the best buy for me. If I buy the larger tubs I find that most of it ends up tossed out when the mold sets in. Any savings made from the large size is lost when most goes into the garbage. So now I buy small. I have also learned to cook small, at least less. I feel good about less, and if it is more than I can eat in one night I don’t mind leftovers for the next day. When company comes I still know how to adjust back up. Life is good and I don’t mind dinner for one. “bon appe’tit.”
DON’T FORGET COINCIDENCE
August 7, 2015 – Last month I posted my blog on Prayers and Promptings. This is a follow-up. Many people believe that everything that happens happens for a reason. That could be very true, but there are times when I believe that what happens takes place because of some kind of stupid decision one makes as we travel through this veil of tears we call life. We all make mistakes at one time or another. When we learn from a wrong decision, then the mistake did happen for a reason, and if the event proves to be a lesson learned, then a reason makes sense.
A FEELING OF DARKNESS
The only problem with all things happening for a reason is that we may never know of an outcome. As an example, our family had an incident happen when two of our boys were younger. Our 14-year old boy had a premonition, a prompting of danger. He told me to make his younger brother stop climbing on the rocks. Because of his emotional sincerity I corrected the smaller boy. When looking back on the incident many years later. I attempted to refresh the memory of the older boy asking, “Do you remember?” I then described the National Park where it happened and the exact place. That he remembered, but not his prompting. He said, “No, I don’t remember. Why? What happened?” “Nothing.” I answered, and nothing did happen. But supposing I had ignored the older boy’s warning and something did happen. Something disastrous to the younger son. He could have been hurt or worse. Any accident would have been devastating for our family. So it is best to pay attention to warning signs and promptings.
A WRONG NUMBER
A few days ago I received a phone call. At first the caller asked for someone other than myself. I was already to tell him he had the wrong number when he said, “This is Bob.” “Bob Who?” I questioned. He gave his last name, one that I immediately recognized as a good friend who lives in Washington State. “Hi, it’s been a while,” I commented. Then I reminded him who he had actually called. We chatted back and forth realizing that it had been a coincidence. He had been meaning to call me for some time, but thought he would wait a while making sure I was adjusting to my husband, Ken’s, passing.”
He mentioned that he had friends where the husband had recently been diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s. The wife of the victim was concerned as her husband was having moments of violent behavior. Furthermore he wondered if it would be all right for the wife to call me to see if I had any experience with violence and Ken.
Early on while Ken was still very mobile I did have a few incidences with him pushing, shoving and kicking with me as his victim. I have also been punched, clawed, bruised and spat upon. Alzheimer’s is not a friendly disease. I could relate to Bob’s friend, and after some of our bouts I learned what not to do with Ken to avoid further confrontations. Perhaps I could be of help.
That was Bob’s point. With what I have experienced during Ken’s illness over the past 15 years, I do have a few answers. Bob believes his dialing the wrong number was not just a coincidence, nor a serendipity moment, but possibly help for someone he knows, and possibly, many others who may already read my blog.
It is my firm belief that we are all here on planet Earth to help one another and to be of service. There is always something we can do for someone else. How we arrive at our destination of service can be a coincidence or even a serendipity moment. Whatever the reason, see what you can do to ease the journey for someone else..
POWER IN PRAYER
July 24, 2015 – Many of my previous posts have been concerning the power of prayer. There is an axiom which reminds us that “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams.” With all certainty, I believe that to be true. Throughout the experience of Alzheimer’s which Ken and I have endured for more than 15 years there have been many times when prayer has brought not only comfort and peace, but through prayer I have found solutions to many of my problems. I do believe that we are cared for by a loving Father in Heaven and Alzherimer’s is just one of the adversities that challenge our lives.
GUIDELINES THROUGH PROMPTINGS
By the same understanding I believe we receive promptings to help us over some of the rough spots in our lives. Or we have an urging to do, or not to do something which may result in a normal situation becoming better, or a feeling not to do something which could result not to our betterment. There are times when we respond, or not, to the prompting never knowing if the chosen action, or non-action would bring about a positive or negative impact in our life.
CASE IN POINT
Today I had a date to visit my very best friend, Sofia. “We’ll have lunch,” I said. “I’ll bring the lunch and you provide the sodas.” She agreed. I looked forward to this visit as our friendship had been solid and devoted for more than a half century. Sofia had not been feeling well for the past few months and I wanted to see if our time together might cheer her as her husband of 50-plus years was showing severe signs of dementia with his future not looking good.
The night before I thought to myself that I should fill up my gas tank as the round-trip journey would be approximately 100 miles. The lines at my gas station of choice were endless. “Tomorrow,” I said to myself. I’ll fill up tomorrow.” I was unconcerned as the needle appeared to rest in the middle. With half a tank I’d be all right getting there, but would need more to get back home.
Highway 580 stretched eastward this morning like a thick gray ribbon cutting through the East Bay hills. Leaving 580 east of Livermore and connecting to Vasco Road which would meander through the east part of Contra Costa’s hills covered with the golden grasses of a hot summer in the midst of California’s longest drought. As I approached the first intersection there was a gas station to my right with prices lower than those posted at home. “You should stop and fill up,” I was prompted. “Then you’ll have more than enough fuel to get back home. Do it now and you won’t have to think about it again,” my promptings continued. My vehicle, however, behaved like an old work horse headed for the barn and kept moving up into the hills.
GOOD FOLKS ARE OUT THERE
Merging onto Highway 4 near Brentwood the engine spluttered, but I thought nothing of it until I approached the off ramp when the engine spluttered one last time and died. I coasted to a halt. Rolling down the window after turning on my hazard lights I motioned to the motorists behind me to go around. After about 10 minutes one of the cars turned in front of me and stopped on the main throughfare. Approaching my stalled vehicle, a nice young man asked, “Do you need some help?” “I’m out of gas,” I explained. “I was certain I had half a tank, but it’s on empty”. In my hand I held my AAA card. My cell hadn’t been working so I asked if he a cell phone. “Do you want me to call AAA for you,” he asked. “Please,” I replied handing him my card. A few minutes later he returned saying that it would take about 30 to 45 minutes or less. I was just happy to be getting the much-needed help. “May I use your phone,” I asked. “I’d like to call my friend to tell her I will be late. Her phone rang several times until I hung up. I thanked my good Samaritan profusely. “Will you be all right waiting alone,” he asked. “I’ll be fine,” I assured him. As he walked back to his own car he added, “I hope the rest of your day gets better for you.”
The time passed quickly and before I knew it, the tow truck arrived with my gallon of needed gasoline. “Turn off the hazard lights and after the gas is in the tank turn on the dashboard and let it rest a while.. In 20 seconds you can start the motor.” He then directed me to the nearest gas station. I drove in and filled the tank. Fifteen minutes later I rang Sofia’s doorbell. Before I could explain, she said, “I know,” You ran out of gas. I heard the phone ring just as you hung up so I called the number back, introduced myself and asked if he had called me.” “Your friend will be late,” said the friendly voice. “She ran out of gas.”
Lesson learned: If I had paid attention to the prompting I wouldn’t have had an empty tank, wouldn’t have been late for our luncheon and would have saved a few dollars as my fill-up gas station was more costly than the station I chose to pass by.
JEOPARDY AT THE SNACK BAR
July 24, 2015 – Watching game shows together on TV was a mutual “like” for my husband Ken and me before he became lost in the confursion of Alzheimer’s. Like so many others we enjoyed watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Ken was a very competitive person and Jeopardy often became a regular part of our dinner. Sitting at the snack bar Ken enjoyed making a stab at the answers right along with the contestants. “Ha,” he would say if he was correct, “bet you didn’t know that one.” Before long it became a personal challenge as we watched together.
One evening I got a paper and pencil. “Okay smarty,” I said, “let’s see who will get the most right for the evening, and a bonus to the one answering the final jeopardy question. “I’m going to keep score and we’ll see who is the smart one in this family.” For a week or so I kept track of which one of us could get the most answers along with the contestants. As I recall we were pretty evenly matched when we decided to just watch the game show and cheer for our favorite participant.
Watching Vanna and Pat was another story. I suppose I was never very good at “Hangman” the childhood game upon which Wheel of Fortune is based. Ken was pretty much in the lead with that game show.
Whenever anyone tells me they don’t believe in luck I ask if they have ever watched Wheel of Fortune. Some contestants just can’t get past bankrupt or lose a turn. It would appear that the wheel has its favorite people and a losing contestant goes home with a token amount of money because the wheel is so mean to them. Notice, they always smile and tell Pat they had a great time. I wonder when they get home with family what they say? I would feel really dumb, although I know it’s more luck than knowledge. Some contestants are quick as a flash in figuring out the puzzles, but some people, because they are so consistently unlucky, never get the chance to solve even one of the puzzles.
DINNER AND HANGMAN
There have been numerous times when Ken and I have had dinner at restaurants that provided pencils and crayons for adults and a paper table cloth. I guess it’s for folks who like to doodle on the paper napkins, but the paper covering is even better. It’s then I see him draw the scaffolding and I knew we were entering into a game of hangman. He would wink at me and jot down the lines for the letters. He gave me a hint and the games began. One evening, without thinking, I jotted down the lines for the sentence, “Can you see the quick brown fox jump over the lazy dog?” Not a smart puzzle on my part. We were half way through his solving the “can’t lose” puzzle when it dawned on me that this was an old typing exercise, from eighth grade, containing every letter in the alphabet. He would have won, hands down, had I not scribbled through the puzzle and told him I had made a mistake and needed to begin again.
FUN TIMES DISAPPEAR
As time passed, Ken’s Alzheimer’s had taken him well into the disease. After several years there were no more thoughts of “Hangman,” “Wheel” or “Jeopardy.” Our fun times with my fun date were vanishing like rain drops in the dust of a summer rain. The last time we went to a movie, Ken asked, “How long do I have to sit here?” Being with me on a date was becoming more of punishment for him than pleasure. Sad as it is, there comes a time in this game of life when games are cancelled, not because of rain, but because of pain – his pain and mine as my heart ached for him knowing that he was no longer the man I married.
PROBLEMS WITHOUT A PERMANENT SOLUTION
July 10, 2015 – As the horizon of the future looms ahead, we know with certainty that nothing about Alzheimer’s is permanent, other than the disease itself. Plans for the “Golden Years” future will be riddled with adjustment. The one thing, we can count on for certain, is that there is no such thing as a permanent solution.
TV AND OTHER SOURCES
Being able to go on line to do some shopping becomes increasingly easy, but often dotted with all sorts of information: some of use and some absolutely useless. I’ve noticed that there are advertisements for just about everything including finding a place for mom (and dad I suppose if needed). As I peruse our age group within the community I find many more widows than widowers. Yes, more women are left alone than are men which might indicate a need for being concerned about “what will we do with mom?”
CLUES TO HER CONDITION: BE UP FRONT
When the family believes a problem of placement for mom (or dad), but we’ll concentrate on mom, is just around the corner, think again. How old is she? Is she/he showing signs of dementia? Does she/he keep the financial affairs in check, or are bill collectors ringing the doorbell constantly? Is she still driving? Is there reason for concern that she should give up her keys? How is her general health? Have there been issues for concern? If the answer to these questions is “no,” then there may not be a problem.
If there are some “yes” answers, then don’t be sneaky about your concern. If it’s about mom, then bring her into the conversation. Most people, of any age, are happier in their own home surrounded by their “stuff” that has been a part of their life possibly since long before the family came along.
THE ANSWER IS: THERE IS NO PERMANENT SOLUTION
Case in point: My mother-in-law, Rose, stayed in her home following the death of her husband, Nick, for a very short period of time. She was not capable of caring for herself all alone. She also had bladder cancer. Serious though it was the doctor explained that it could be clipped back (like a tree is pruned), have chemo inserted into the bladder periodically and still enjoy a few good years. Rose left her home to go to the hospital for the first surgery on her cancer. From the hospital she qualified for assisted living. The family found a lovely facility and Rose was content, although she constantly asked when would she be going home. As a family we assured her that she could go back home when the doctor felt she was well and strong enough. That, of course, would never be.
She lived in her assisted living facility until her needs were beyond the perimeters outlined in her contract. The next step in her living arrangement was a full-care facility where she received constant 24/7 care which was what she needed. With loving caregivers and family, it was her last stop. Her health continued to deteriorate until she passed on.
Families should always be prepared with suggestions and options for elderly parents, but the operative word for a happy solution is to make sure to include mom or dad in the discussions, if they have the mental capabilities of being involved. When we fall into the trap of deciding on a permanent solution, just sit back for a moment and count how many permanent decisions “you” have made, and how many times permanent has been changed. Mom and/or dad just might have something in mind not thought of by the grown children. After all, it’s their life and they need to be included in decisions pertaining to that life.
NEIGHBORHOOD ALZHEIMER’S: BAD NEWS – GOOD NEWS
July 3, 2015 – The typical neighborhood of the 1950’s, with its endless blocks of matching homes has started to fill with the latest threat to suburban bliss. As occupants become older, the disease of the day, Alzheimer’s, rears its ugly head to defy the happiness such living arrangements were meant to deliver. It’s bad enough that we can’t seem to turn on TV or a radio without being barraged by bad news. If I were Chicken Little I would be screaming “the sky is falling,” but I know it’s not. At least now yet. However, in a world of constant change with news casters lamenting the latest disaster every half hour, home life no longer gives us the comfort or sanctuary it once promised to the weary occupants. At any moment in time our pathway in life can make a disastrous turn causing untold worry, distress and misery at just the mere thought of what may be ahead in our future.
My neighbor experienced her earth-shattering news during last year’s summer months. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For over 50 years, she and I, our husbands and children have been almost like family, perhaps even more so, living in such close proximity as “just across the street.” We have lived in the same house with them as neighbors since our oldest girls were still toddlers. She and I exchanged baby sitting for years, sharing the ups and downs of family life and growing children. And now sharing the worry of advancing years.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD CURSE
It might appear that we have a small pocket of dementia in our neighborhood. Our neighbor, Val, just three doors to the north began her strange behavior about 30 years ago. Ken and I, as concerned neighbors watched over her making sure she was always all right in her “neat as a pin” home while her mind faded away. Val’s son and his family lived four hours away and knew of her condition, but had not made plans for her future. As she regressed Val began having delusions that the neighbor who lived between her house and our house was stealing her canned goods, some stored in the garage. He also stole her pantyhose, she claimed. To protect her belongings she locked all she could in the trunk of her car. She complained to us and her friends across the street, even going so far as to call the police with her accusations. One evening as the patrol car pulled up in front of Val’s house Ken talked with the officer explaining that Val was having mental problems and that Derwood, the accused party was innocent. “Nevertheless,” the officer replied, “if I get one more complaint about him, I’ll have to run him in.”
She also complained to her son about Derwood. To prevent Derwood from her rants, the son moved her to Northern California where the rest of the family lived.
NEXT DOOR DEMENTIA
The following year we, and several other neighbors, noticed that Derwood began suffering with hallucinations and moments of agitation. It appeared that his torment was applied to his daughter who was devoted. Living only a few miles away, she gave us her phone number and spent hours with her father until he needed a caregiver in the house. Derwood’s bout with the demon A.D. was very quick and within a few months he passed on.
THE THIRD HOUSE
That would be our house with Ken being the victim of Alzheimer’s. It was easily 16 years ago that I noticed those first signs of confusion and forgetfulness even though his actual diagnosis wasn’t made until 2004. And now my long-time friend across the street was showing signs of dementia.
NOW THE GOOD NEWS
While I was working in the front of my house my friend walked across our quiet street with a smiling face. “I’ve been to the doctor,” she stated. “I don’t have Alzheimer’s.” We gave one another a hug to celebrate the happy news. Details would come later. But for that moment we just slowed down the time to enjoy the moment.
There are reasons for a misdiagnosis with dementia. How is the patient’s thyroid? When was it last checked? It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion. For my friend the news couldn’t have come at a better time. Whether or not the symptoms will show up again remains to be seen. She and her family will just have to wait. Right now, it’s time for a deep breath, look to the Heavens and utter a fervent thank you.
ALZHEIMER’S AND FATHERS’ DAY
it’s always difficult to stumble through those first special days and holidays after losing a loved one. Father’s Day can be especially poignant when the day is all about someone now out of your life. I suppose that even after a year it won’t be any easier to celebrate without a touch of melancholy in the air. It’s a natural response following the loss of someone who has played such an important role in so many lives.
A LIFETIME OF TITLES
My husband, like all other human males, began his journey as a baby, a son, a boy, a little brother, a nephew, a youth, a teen, a student, a young man, a sailor, a man, a bachelor, a boyfriend, a steady, a fiance, a groom, a husband, perhaps an uncle along the way, and after a time as a husband, he became a father. That is, in the ideal natural order of things. Hopefully, along the way, he became responsible, respectable, conscientious, loyal, loving, devoted, hard-working, likable and lovable. And that’s all in one breath. I’m sure there are many other titles earned throughout life’s journey here on earth. Hopefully, for a child of God, they are all positive and create, after years of learning, the kind of human being that would please his Heavenly Father.
FROM HIS CHILDREN
The other day I received an email from my daughter as the week before Fathers’ Day appeared on the calendar. The thought was about her father. “Thinking of dad,” she wrote, “wonderful memories.”
Knowing my two daughters and three sons, I am sure their thoughts this week were also turned to their father and their growing years with him. Just as I thought about him each day and missed him. June was a busy month for Ken. Not only did we celebrate Fathers’ Day, but June is also his birth month.
When he passed on I asked each of our children if they would share some of their thoughts about their dad at his funeral. They all agreed, and I am sure it was a difficult time for them to put a pause on the emotions still raw from his death and speak from their heart about the man I had chosen to be their male parent.
There were memories of childhood, teen years, deserved discipline, camping trips, daddy-daughter dates, and scouting days with Ken as the Scout Master taking the troop, which included his sons, on 50-mile hikes through California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.
THE PATHWAY OF FATHERHOOD
He walked his daughters down the aisle of marriage and gently slapped his sons on the shoulder as they took their journey down the path of matrimony with their chosen wife-to-be. It’s all part of being a dad and part of the family passageway to happiness, which is the goal of man: to have joy.
The one quality that our children were certain about was that he was always there for each of them. Trouble and adversity are part of life’s journey in the experimental course taken by growing and developing humans. We taught them all about right and wrong explaining that they could always choose their own walkway, but they could not choose the consequences. Hopefully, they understood that unchangeable rule. If they were wrong, there was penalty and a lesson learned, but no matter what they did, without a doubt, they knew that their father had their back.