To the Temple with Dad


Sleep flees before dawn and my brother and I arise to greet one another. Dad has had a restless night and has been up several times including just minutes ago. The morning arrives soon. My brother leaves and comes back a short time later. I hear him talking with Dad. He is up early. I finish my reading and then peek into the living room. Dad rests in Mom's new chair sleeping.

I sneak into the shower and finish dressing as he wakes. We wave and say, "Good morning." There is a smile on his face. Dad is always happy to greet everyone. It is a mark of his true character. We sit a while and enjoy one another's company. Dad comments on the boots missing from my feet as I put on my socks. I tease him by pointing out that his boots are also missing. He is also missing a hearing aid. A brief search finds it on the floor near his dresser.

Breakfast is a bowl of mini frosted wheat for Dad and granola and yogurt for me. We both take our pills and begin a daily ritual of delay. Dad wants to go now. It's a bit too early. So I say, "I'll be ready in a few minutes." He wanders around the house looking for something. He finds his belt and puts it on.

After a few delays, we pack our kit--some water and protein balls--and don our coats. The air is crisp and it takes a mile or two for the truck to warm up enough to take the chill off. We're on our way to Vernal.

In Vernal we shop at Walmart for almonds, cheese and sugar free drinks with a touch of lime which Dad seems to enjoy very much. Dad's slow shuffle makes for a longer than ordinary trek through the house of worldly goods. I honestly enjoy it. We drive over to see the Vernal temple and go slowly past it. We comment on how beautiful it looks. I know Dad loves the temple even though he is now unable to attend. When this portion of his life is over, he will surely be of service on the other side of the veil. Of that I have no doubt.

We meander on back to the Villa to visit Mom the long way via Neola and Dad remarks on many of the "new" houses and says often, "I have never been here before," or, "I have not been here in a long time." I always respond affirmatively and reassure him. Soon we're visiting Mom and she looks very good today. Better than yesterday. She comforts Dad and assures him that she will be home in two days. She has already spoken with the doctor and the physical therapist. They had been thinking of Saturday but she has convinced them to let her go home on Friday afternoon. Again and again she assures Dad, every time he asks, with angelic and practiced patience. Every time he is relieved and glad to hear it.

We say our goodbyes and grab a burger on our way home.  The afternoon is passed with increasing fretting over many things and nothing. Dad looks for things and finds nothing. He looks in the closet and the bedroom. He fiddles with this and that and sits sometimes with me. Most tellingly he asks me several times in his own way if his wife is coming home. Though he cannot express it adequately, it is obvious that he misses Mom very much.

At one point, he is picking up the house phone and trying to dial it. This is something he is no longer really able to do. I ask him if he is trying to call his wife. He says yes. I offer to help and call her on my mobile. He speaks to her briefly on speaker and she knows exactly how to reassure him and he is so very happy to talk with her for just a few moments.

My brother arrives with dinner. With some nourishment and another familiar face, Dad is at peace and will be ready for bed soon. He struggles to converse with his boys and cannot really do so effectively. There are bits and fragments and we offer reassurance as best we can and encourage him to go to bed.
He is tired and needs some rest. Tomorrow I will try to get him to sleep more and rest up for Mom's return on Friday.

Tomorrow is a new day.