Stages of Life: Taking Care of Mom and Dad
By Donna K. Lay, MS, LPC, CCMHC


As his father had before him, he raised corn, calves and kids, loving each in his own way. His hands could cradle a newborn calf as gently as his own child. A man of few words he lived a life of quiet dignity as he toiled from daybreak to darkness.

Slow to anger, he came alive on the dance floor; his face glowed with the sheer joy the music of his ancestors gave him. So great was his happiness that it infected everyone there and his daughter felt like a princess as he twirled her around the floor.

Now, he sits in his rocker, a mere shadow of the man I knew - a questioning look on the face that once seemed to know all the answers. His brow is curved in a perpetual question mark and a scowl of irritation often mars his whiskered face.

He once seemed to have no doubts about his place in the world, but that certainty has been replaced by the "Whatever..." of absolute resignation.

The man who worked till dark stands on the verge of his own sunset as an unrelenting darkness devours his soul, a chunk at a time – leaving behind a shadow of the man I knew as Dad.

I cannot help but believe that somewhere, trapped inside a failing mind, he still lives... and knows that we love him still and will be with him no matter how dark his night.