My father is not a young man. He has not been middle aged for quite some time. I know that he is getting older, and losing certain qualities. He has a difficult time understanding conversation because his hearing is bad. He shuffles slowly and sometimes walks with his back hunched over. He is no longer comfortable driving at night, or more than a short distance. He is forgetful, and sometimes gets confused. And even so, I am caught unawares in his worst moments.
This morning, he had one of those moments. He did not recognize me. The scariest thing is that he had been seeing me walking around the house getting ready all morning. I went out to put something in my trunk, and when I came back into the house my parents were standing in front of the screen door. I heard my dad ask my mom who was coming in the house….and he was looking right at me. I realize that these moments of confusion are still just moments, but this was a very scary thing. What else does he get confused about? Will be eventually not recognize me at all? What if this happens while he’s driving? How long can my parents really live alone in their own house without some assistance?
These questions have been rattling around in my head for a while and this episode brings them to the forefront. And what is a child to do about their aging parents? I don’t have room for them to move in with me (nor would they if I asked). I can’t leave the area where I am until my Kiddo finishes high school at least, and I wouldn’t want to move in with them anyway. They won’t leave the area, and don’t want to go smaller. I don’t know what the future holds for them, and that is frightening.