Home for the Holidays

Spent a day with my mother, father and sister, looking at places for my father to live.

We weren’t looking at houses. But we looked at homes. The kind of homes that are oftentimes people’s last stop on the great roller-coaster that is life.

My father is suffering from a disease that is taking his bodily functions, before they take his mind. An order that is better than the reverse, but in some ways a lot worse.

But the situation is what it is. There is a level of care he is going to need. Higher than what he has now. We all know it. My father knows it.

Yet he still struggles to get comfortable making the decision to move into a home. He’s anxious. Almost accusatory at times. To people closest to him. To people trying to help him. As if we are not acting in his best interest.

It’s textbook, right? The kids think they are doing the right thing to keep their father safe and happy. The parent thinks his kids are trying to take his freedoms before he needs to give them up.

But the writing is all over the wall. There have been, and continue to be, too many signs. And incidents. Like many decisions, I’d rather be a year early on this one, than a day late.

My father is like the drunk person claiming he is OK to drive. But everyone watched him stumble out of the bar. We all saw it. I want to tell him…there are sober people all around. Who care about you. Just hand over the keys. We will happily drive. We will take you home.

As I watch him struggle with this next step. I have thought about the root of the anxiety.

Is it just that this is the last stop and he knows it? That all the dreams he’s ever dreamed are either realized, or they never will be. And that this move solidifies that fact to him. Or represents that to him. Is it simply that there is so much death in these places? Or that he feels his own mortality now? Or is there some diary of regret, he has kept in his head, from his entire life? And this move signifies the giving in, to never making amends to those people. Is it that he feels like this move is giving up on life? Is this just giving in, period. Maybe it is simply the lack of freedom that he talks about. Whether real or perceived, that would vanish in this new address.

Maybe it’s all of these things combined. Maybe it’s a lot more.

I drove to the airport with my sister late that day. We shared the comedy from the day. There was a lot of it. If you can’t laugh, you can’t live. But the day was heavy overall. Emotional at times. It weighed on both of us.

She and I talked about struggle in each of our own lives. And how struggle is so prevalent in so many people’s lives.

We talked the importance of now. My father is a relatively young man. Yet aging rapidly. We talked about how time moves so fast now. And talked about time in our lives, that it shouldn’t be wasted. How even moments deserve to be treasured.

We talked about the importance of happiness in life. And how hard it is to tell when you’re just going through a really hard time. Or when it’s time to really change something.

We talked about happiness now. And if you’re not happy now, what can you do differently to get there?

I can’t stop thinking about these things.

Especially now.

In this, yet another holiday season. Another one that came too fast. Another one that will be gone too fast.

In this time of giving. Be sure to give yourself some gifts.

Give yourself thought. Give your life thought. Give yourself the ability to see all the way around and through the good and bad in your life. All aspects of it. The hows and the whys of what you do. Give yourself the green light to fight for yourself. Give yourself the power to make decisions based upon your happiness. On your short, your medium, and your long-term happiness. Give yourself the gift of no regret. And go forward in your life and make decisions that are going to serve you well.

Like it or not, every day that passes, we get one more day closer to death.

And death could come visit you today. Know that. That is an absolute truth. So keep that fact in front of you, when you make these and all decisions. Make that fact this holiday season, not depressing or paralyzing, but liberating.

I wish you all, whatever you celebrate, happy holidays. And an even happier life going forward.