I don't want to get old
I didn’t want to go to the assisted living home to visit my friend’s Dad.
But I’m glad I did…
When I said, “Let me know if there is ANY way I can help”, I meant it. But, apparently I meant that I would take my friend to coffee or pray for her from afar. When she asked if I could pop in to visit her Dad, Mike, a few times while she was gone, I panicked a bit. Mike is 73 years old with advanced Parkinson’s disease.
“Of course I will go!” I managed to say as my mind raced and my heart pounded.
It’s not that I’m scared of older people. But, I felt awkward, insecure, and a bit terrified of walking into a facility I’ve only been to once, visiting a man I’ve only met once (who wouldn’t remember me).
What would we talk about? How would this help him? Is it too late to get out of this?
Thankfully 3 other friends joined me for the first visit. And you know what, it was super sweet. Mike seemed a little overwhelmed that 4 ladies he didn’t know were all trying to talk with him at the same time. But, it wasn’t hard. It was even fun! I think we overdosed him on sugar, but, he seemed pleased that we came. And, I felt really honored to serve (for a minute) this man who is my dear friend’s dad.
The next visit was his birthday, and one other friend and I went to visit Mike. He was more alert and talkative. He told us about his Dad’s shop that he used to work at which he eventually took over. He said a lot of other things. We couldn’t understand him, but we still listened. And nodded. And let him talk.
Hopefully he enjoyed our interest in him as much as he enjoyed the chocolate cake and coke we brought (birthday party treats).
His shaky hands and wandering speech are pronounced, but his intense gaze and strong constitution have not diminished. I never met Mike before Parkinsons. But, I can imagine him on his ranch in Texas, so handsome and hard working.
I don’t really want to get old enough to need a wheel chair, assistance to go to the bathroom and reminders that it’s my birthday. But, I probably will. It’s humbling and scary. Being with Mike reminded me that it’s hard, and it’s also okay. I don’t want to get old. But, I pray my kids will serve me as beautifully as my friend is serving her dad.
And hopefully my friend’s kids will come visit me too.