My father’s wife passed away today.
She had diabetes and dementia. And her health deteriorated as her dementia took over.
My father had been married to her for 23 years. He married her a year after my mother had passed. He needed a partner. They travelled together and enjoyed their time as man and wife. But, her memory started to fade and almost a year ago she was put into another facility that could monitor her diabetes. It was difficult for my dad and truthfully she went down quickly. When she had moved from the farm to town she was more sound minded and it was good. But when she moved from the apartment to the senior home she struggled. It took time for her to adjust. It seemed anytime she was somewhere unfamiliar it made the confusion grow. So, last fall when she was moved to another facility she would ask my dad every time to take her home. She would be sad that she was left there and it broke my dads heart. He always felt like she remembered him.
For the past few weeks she was unconscious. She was unable to make conversation or even if her eyes were open she wouldn’t register anyone around her. Yesterday, my father said when he went to kiss her he felt she kissed him back. I believe it. I feel like that life does work in mysterious ways. He loved her. She had many hardships and broken pieces in her earlier life and after marrying my dad she had probably the most settled moments with him. He just loved her purely and I think she had happiness with him.
I want to say that her and I were not especially close. My heart was broken after my mother died but I couldn’t deny that my father needed a partner in his life. His new wife never really reached out to me and I can’t recall of any times we made a connection. But I think she liked me better then most and never was mean to me. Even as she was forgetting she would always call out from her room, “I know it’s you because I recognize your voice.” She would get up and visit.
Truly for me what’s the most difficult is trying to support my father. I stopped in there tonight and I told him that I didn’t bring him flowers but a chocolate chip cookie. He smiled a “you know me so well” smile. My father loves his baked goodies. He patted my cheek. We laughed and we cried.
My father is a good dad. He’s really been an amazing husband. If he wasn’t 86 years old he would have taken care of her on his own. But his own health has failed him too. The stress of taking care of her has put strain on him. She was unaware of the burden she created by asking him to do things. She forgot that he didn’t have the ability anymore to help her. But, deep down I know that he has lived this long to make sure that her death and how she is put to rest is done in the most respectful manner.
He had called me the other night to tell me that he was a great grandfather and I told him I already knew he was great. He laughed. I’m so lucky to have him in my life. He truly has got the kindest soul and his marriages have always proved that he takes care of the women of his life. He stayed by my mother. He stayed by his second wife. He has a high level of compassion and grace that I can only hope to achieve.
I know that she now has the ability to see her life outside of her human body and I know that she sees my father as an earth angel. She softened and smoothed herself in his presence. She was blessed to have him.
Rest In Peace Dorothy.