Well, I got word today that the assisted living facility (ALF) will have a room for Dad April 18th. I don't plan to think of "why" so suddenly; sad things happen.
I'm suddenly busy with making plans for next week. And Dr appointments... I'm glad I got Dad to a dentist this week; one thing out of the way. And I got Dad to the eye Dr today; it turns out his cheap drugstore glasses are just fine for his needs and he has no other vision problems.
I need to get Dad to his geriatric internist Dr ASAP for the ALF medical evaluation and will call for an appointment tomorrow. They can usually arrange an appointment in 2-3 days, so that's OK.
The difficult plans are getting Dad, his personal stuff, and bed to the ALF (near the rest of the family and about 90 miles from here. I suggested 4 plans to my sister and am waiting for her thoughts on them. All plans involve a family member driving down here and only one doesn't involve me driving up there. I hope she likes the one where I don't do any driving. LOL!
It is all a bit more sudden than I expected. But if it all works out, I will sure be relieved. I know that doesn't sound very kind, but I'm a bit worn out. Even Dad says he feels bad about how much work I do to take care of him.
I won't say I'm "happy" to do it all, but I'm "willing". I'm sure you understand the difference.
When I retired from office work in 2006, I came home and told the cats "I'm here, forever, and I'm yours". I felt complete freedom to just live "my way".
When Dad leaves here in bout a week, I will feel much the same way. It's been a hard year, and it was an important experience in my life. I would have gladly skipped the experience, but I'm sure you know what I mean.
I'm going to speak some truth here. I won't miss his daily presence. He has been a demanding "guest" for 11 months. I was perfectly happy with him living down in FL, and I will be perfectly happy with him living in the ALF for the rest of his days. I don't have to see my family every day in order to love and care about them.
If Dad had been 10 years younger when he moved in with me, things would have been different. We could have talked, shared some experiences, etc. But that was not the case (and he wouldn't have moved in with me 10 years ago). Every time for the past 4 months, I have regretted each conversation beyond "its dinnertime, go to the table". His mental confusion has driven me nearly crazy. Any accidental reference I made for months has caused a long, confused explanation that left me mentally exhausted. It's not his fault, it's mine. I should have learned what to talk to Dad about. Meals, weather, golf channel, etc. I talk too much when someone else is around.
But the move is about set. I could make a joke about "the long national nightmare is over" (Ford about Nixon), but that's not really true. I know how frustrated Dad is about is inabilities. I know how angry he feels at himself when he can't find words (and I try to comfort him about that). I know how frustrated he is when he can't walk easily. I have learned how much he struggles to maintain his personal life and do what he needs to do on his own.
When I watch Dad, I see my own future. I understand that a day will come in a future decade when I am in his shoes. While I have a vague plan to "check out" just before I get to Dad's condition, I also realize I might not remember those plans at the right time. Life is complicated and death is more complicated.
I will miss Dad, in a way. This has been an intensely "togetherness" year. But I will be gladder to get my life back. And it will start in about a week. I'm not doing cartwheels though the yard, but I will be relieved.