This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.—John 15:12 (ESV)
A Way In
A [child] should honor his father.—MALACHI 1:6 [JPS]
Now that Mom was in an Alzheimer’s care facility, I needed to figure out ways to begin caring for Dad without being too obvious. At 82, he was lucid and capable of caring for himself, but was he lonely? Did he need my assistance? Although he visited Mom every day, Dad’s nights were often solitary. He had his books, his favorite shows and the scientific work he’d kept up with, but general conversations were infrequent.
“I’m going shopping tomorrow,” I said on the phone. “Can I buy your groceries, too?”
“Yes, please,” he said.
This is my way in, I thought, as I made his list. When I was at the store, I bought enough salmon for a family meal. I decided I’d go by his house one afternoon, cook dinner and invite the family to join us. It would be strange to cook in Mom’s kitchen without her, but an ideal way to critically view what Dad might need.
Dinner was a success. Two grandchildren joined us, and we had a lively evening with banter and laughter. There were even leftovers for him to have during the week.
“Thank you for this lovely evening,” he said, taking my hand. “I’ve missed my home being joyful.”
That’s when I knew that the weekly efforts to gather Dad into the family fold would be a springboard to whatever came next. I would be ready.
Dear God, guide me to ascertain and meet my loved one’s needs.
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