My sweet Daddy is 86 years old, and these days his mind is often jumbled due to some functional changing of the brain. With the help of caregivers in the assisted living facility where he lives, he still dresses every day, joins friends for lunch in the upstairs dining room, and sits in his big easy chair by the window waiting for visitors or family–most often Will and Kathy, my super-hero brother and sister-in-law–to stop by or to take him on an outing.
He is not going willingly into this darkness. Dad’s frustration shows. Yet his indomitable spirit pushes on in spite of the great challenges he faces, each day bringing something new. It is a remarkable thing to see the ways he adapts, the adjustments he somehow knows how to make so each tiny moment is the absolute best it can be. Spend 10 minutes with Dad and you’ll see despite the gradual fading of his memory, he is a man who simply refuses to let the thing get the best of him.
Just this week he got the chance to meet his great-grandson for the very first time.
One look at the interaction between these two and you know Dad and Irby are both right there, great-granddaddy and great-grandson fully experiencing a precious, once-in-a-lifetime, holy exchange.
How thankful we all are for this time. How joyous!
And how fervently I pray the goodness of this golden moment will rest with Dad a while. May it nourish his soul. May it remind him day after day the fight is worth it, every frustrating, exhausting, damnable bit.
A big thanks to Catherine Stewart, Irby’s mom and my precious niece, for the use of her how-did-she-capture-that-moment photo.