|Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst New York.|
and has worked in the ophthalmology
field of medicine for over 30 years
Many women spend a great deal of their lives and time nurturing and caring for their children and families. We start out, if we are lucky enough to have children, helping them grow into independence but never stop caring and watching over them. Our lives take on many twists and turns as the years go by and what was important and necessary years ago, are not quite the same in the years that are to come.
I took on the role as nurturer and caretaker 16 years ago as my mom passed away; it was my promise to her to look after my dad. He was 9 years her senior and had much life ahead of him. As he began to start anew we kept tabs on him daily, spent many a dinner with him and enjoyed many a Broadway show.
Many days he spent on the porch sunning himself like a cat. We spent all holidays celebrating with him and when he was unable, we would bring the celebration to him. He enjoyed evening strolls
and reading all magazines and newspapers , until he began to become more frail in his 90’s.
Forced to make the choice to place him in continuing care in a facility brought us much grief and sorrow. My life now
had totally revolved around my dad, daily visits, watching over him to make sure he was clean and comfortable, bringing him his favorite foods and watching him transform from a stoic, independent and proud man to an invalid depending on aids in the nursing home to move him from wheelchair to bed for
many months. It was as if I had a child all over again which I never resented, for he had been a great father and always kind to me.
Recently God decided to take him under his care during his sleep and joined him with my mother of who he was lost without. I suddenly am faced with a new pattern to my life. I no longer have to plan my life around his needs and am afforded an unknown freedom that I have to come to grips with.
As I mourn his absence, I am relieved that he is no longer suffering in a world he never imagined or wanted to become part of and he can now rest in peace. As I drive by his nursing home I still feel the emptiness but am trying to hold on to the many memories we shared together in better times.
I realize that none of us know how long we will be on this earth but accepting and dealing with the passing of both parents is never easy at any age, young or old. We take for granted that our parents will
live on forever and soon realize that they will live forever in our hearts and not always on this earth.
With the many losses we have had this year, once again I am reminded that life is short and fleeting and age creeps up on us all too soon. Living life with purpose and happiness is more important to me than ever now.
If possible, do those things that you have been putting off, take a trip you have yearned to take, start that hobby you have always wanted to do and live a fulfilled life. No regrets!
|Alava Ha Sholom|
May he rest in peace...
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