In my previous post, I wrote about the conditional love I received from my earthly father as I grew up. When Deb said she had some open dates for posts, I volunteered to do one for today, October 28th. You see…today is my dad’s 88th birthday. But I also knew that I would be heading to Pennsylvania to visit him. There was a reason.
I have not seen my father for probably 6-7 years. Even our phone conversations have been few and far between. During those years he has had various heart issues (he had a heart attack at 47), as well as receiving a new hip (twice). The day he was to be released he fell and re-broke the hip. He was also hard of hearing and I had to shout to be heard…and even then it was iffy. Then there was the old “I don’t want any contact with that side of the family” thing.
But this time it was different. Disoriented and confused, unable to talk clearly, he was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a UTI. I failed to mention this past winter I received several calls from Florida telling me he had been diagnosed with cancer. That was all I had heard and didn’t even know he had returned to PA. Anyway, my brother who lives in PA called me about the latest and to tell me dad also had dementia. So I made plans to visit him with a side trip to celebrate my grandson’s 9th birthday in Ohio. 🙂
The ravages of time have taken their toll. He still has his hair (I am jealous of that!). But he was frail. His skin was paper-thin. His fingertips and nails were almost white. He now uses a wheelchair to get around (although they are working on strengthening his legs). The worst of it was for him to come wheeling into the room and looking at me and saying, “Who are you?” When I told him I was his son, Bill, he looked at me and said, “My name is William Charles Grandi.” I told him I was William Alan Grandi. “Oh.” Then looking up he asked, “And who is that?” (pointing to Jo). “That is Jo, my wife.” On and on it went for the rest of the time. Asking if I had any children and what their names were. He remembered the picture Janna sent of my grandson. He actually put it under his clothes close to his heart for a few days. Not once. Not twice. Three, maybe four times he asked the same questions over and over. He even asked me if I knew Betty Lou. “Yes dad, she was my mom.” (She died in 2004) Patting my knee. Crying (I wish for lost time) but I suspect it was his emotional state.
It was time to go and we got some pictures. He told me he loved me. Did he realize what he was saying? I hope so. After I got into my truck with Jo, I was ambivalent. Seeing your father in his less-than-self-sufficient-state is a reality check. I replayed the oldness of his hands and mind (and was again jealous he had his hair). I also replayed missed time. I can’t go back and change things. If I had a DeLorean I could, but…
I also realized this: forgiveness was complete. The pain and feeling of abandonment were missing. In its place was the healing of the Father. I had absolutely no animosity or bitterness toward him. I had found my peace and contentment in the arms of the Father. I honestly don’t know if I will ever see my father alive on this earth again. Or in heaven for that matter.
But I do know this…the love and embrace of a heavenly Father has brought healing from the wound of an imperfect (aren’t we all) earthly father.
Photo Credit – BossFight.co