Vitauts Take 1

Vitauts Take 1

I have started to keep a blog of my encounters of living with my 87 year-old father. He retired last year, and he’s been living with me for ten months now. It seems like it’s been longer and shorter, if that makes any sense.

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but life just seemed to deal the cards, I picked them up, and I ended up with a family. Ana left last April, Maija moved in last summer, and then dad moved in shortly after. I had the extra room, and I think I felt like it would be a good thing to do. The right thing to do. The only thing to do.

As a family, my five siblings and I had discussed our options. There really weren’t very many. We didn’t even consider a retirement home, or whatever they are called now. Dad had been living independently since his wife and my mother died in 2012. That shocked our family out of a collective midlife funk right back into reality. We started going to dad’s Latvian church in Lincoln once a month, and we started spending more time together. My brother Paul, who is the only one who lives out of state, now seems to find any excuse he can to come visit. The whole family is much closer now, ironically.

My oldest sister Andra recently suggested that mom died first to give us the gift of knowing our father. Growing up, I guess none of us really knew him. I thought it was just me because I was the youngest, and dad was just bored of having kids around. But apparently his lack of interest in any of his seven kids was true for all of us. Oh, he took my brother Al fishing, and went to watch his football games, but I wonder if they ever had a serious conversation about anything meaningful? He played chess with my brother Norm, but they were silent and thoughtful as they moved the pieces across the grid.

So I cried when she told me that. I was out taking a walk on Blondo street just a few blocks from my house. The streetlights had just turned on, and I was working up a sweat trying to get some exercise. Andra and I were talking on the phone, and she just blurted it out. Dad’s twilight was a gift to all of us. The irony? He doesn’t really remember much of anything anymore. He has dementia, for whatever that means.

 

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