A few years ago I was in a battle for guardianship for E. It was vicious. So many lies and false accusations lobbed by her sister with whom she had been living. I was struggling under the weight of it all.
One afternoon as I was driving to see E – an eleven hour drive – I felt like I was supposed to call an old pastor of ours. A wonderful man. I had seen on social media his mom had died. I thought I was calling to express our condolences. There was much more to the conversation.
He shared how the mom he knew was no longer. She had not been there for the past few years. The sweet, godly woman I’d known and he known all his life had turned into something else. She used words he never thought she even knew. She’d become mean. He said all he could think of was the horror of the disease; he could no longer remember the beautiful woman she had once been. He was glad she was finally out of her misery and at Home with Jesus.
Three years later, I understand what he meant.
I can no longer remember the E I once knew. Her disease has progressed so much that it is hard to remember what she was like.
So classy. So polite. So funny and kind. Her jokes were never at someone else’s expense. Her home always welcoming and always immaculate. Her clothes stylish. Talented at decorating and organizing social events. A gracious hostess. Able to make everyone feel at ease and able to converse with all her guests. She served others in her community through her church and community organizations. She loved our family. She never forgot to send cards on birthdays and holidays. A ready smile and listening ear.
I know these things were true about her, but I cannot picture that woman in my mind. I cannot reconcile that woman with the one I see daily, whose mind is slowing dying before my eyes.
On Father’s Day, I am glad my dad is not here to see what’s become of her. I’m glad he doesn’t have to witness her decline or the strange, uncouth things she does. I’m glad he did not endure the vicious attacks by her family in court. I’m glad he cannot see how my siblings have abandoned her; none have called or come to see her since she moved her. Two of my three siblings have not spoken to her in more than a year, one in more than two years. I’m sad he cannot see the love I try to show her.
My father would grieve over her disease. He’d be furious with her family. He would be disgusted by my sisters’ behavior.
And he would be proud of me and grateful for the care I give her daily.
By loving and caring for her, I honor his memory.
Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Daddy.