Courage at Twilight: Something to Hope For

The pace of progress crawls and stalls, and we wonder at times if there is any hope for his healing or merely the painful prolonged waiting for the inevitable end.  “I don’t know if your dad will ever be able to come home again,” Mom softly wept to me, bravely facing possibilities of future truth.  In the skilled nursing facility, Dad wondered similar thoughts, whether he would ever leave his hospital bed, if his suddenly imprisoned legs would ever find a measure of old freedom.  For non-medicals like me, “auto immune response” is a vague and strange euphemism for individual internal corporal civil war, the body’s immune system besieging and dismantling other vital systems and organs it is meant to protect.  He sits in a reclining bed unable to do anything but to exist, and to think long about life, and to sleep.  He wakes from post-visitor exhaustion and is so relieved to find Jeanette still in his room, at night, and reaches for her reassuring hand to squeeze before she leaves.  “I’m so glad you’re here.  I feel very sad.  I wonder if there is any hope of ever getting better.”  Though aged 87, he does not feel old.  He says he is not ready to go.  “Well, Dad, we must find something to hope for,” I remarked, like knowing that with a power wheelchair he will have full and easy run of the main floor, most importantly of fridge and pantry—that is something to hope for—and knowing that in his power wheelchair he can roam the yard with his hoe and rake and weed-picker and work in the yard as long as he wishes—that is something to hope for—and knowing that he can back his reclining wheelchair into his recliner rocker space, under his white spindle lamp, under his favorite French countryside painting, with his books and mixed nuts and sugar-free chocolate chips and a tall glass of ice water—that is something to hope for—and knowing that if he works as hard as his feeble body can work to regain some little strength, he can leave the hospitals and facilities and centers, he can come home, for however much time is left—that is something to hope for—and knowing that though the world may no longer think it needs his strength and wisdom, he remains very much needed by his sweetheart and his children and his grandchildren and his expanding posterity who all look to him with adoration and tenderness—that is something to hope for, both for you and for me—because I need something to hope for, too.

(Image by Pexels from Pixabay .)

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