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world, but that certainty has been replaced by the "Whatever..."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