My father-in-law, Ben, is in the geriatric psych unit at Wyandotte Hospital. He'll be there a week at least. Oh dear. As it all turns out, it's impossible to say whether last Sunday's episode was a slight stroke or a very bad dementia day. All the tests and symptoms run together too closely to tell. Between us, I think not a stroke.
My mother-in-law, Marthena, is on her own in their little apartment where she seems to be doing fine. There was some drama with herself, the Mr. and the hospital staff on Thursday evening when she discovered that Ben was being moved to a psychiatric unit and not a physical rehab unit. She dug her heels in and got rather not so nice. She told Dean she was taking Ben back to Alabama. Dean told her she better charge up her scooter battery because Alabama is a long way. In the end, there was no choice but to let things happen because it is what it is.
Since it's just you and me, I'll tell you that I get frustrated. You see, Dean's parents have not lived cautiously. They have lived in the moment and for the moment whether it was their finances or their health that was in question. That's why today at 82 and 67 years old a bad situation is even harder than it has to be.
Marthena has always proudly stated that she intended to spend every penny she had and enjoy having whatever she wanted. She has always obstinately insisted she would live life to the fullest, eat without a second thought and if she ended up disabled in a nursing home with nothing to her name, it was fine with her.
The problem with such boldness is that eventually, someday always comes.
Someday is here with dementia, strokes, blindness, two people who can no longer walk and living social security check to social security check. Pension? Well, part of that enjoying life philosophy included multiple job changes and a couple of businesses and moving around and never quite getting around to the pension and retirement planning part of life.
But someday has come.
And I get frustrated because it means a lot of stress for the Mr., it means arguments with his mom in hospital rooms because someday is here and still she insists she can have it all her way. And her way, by the way, doesn't include nursing homes or long-term hospitalizations or assisted living fees. Her way is planning on new furniture and catalog shopping.
I need to take special care to pay attention because our someday is coming too. We have retirement plans and budgets and goals that aren't perfect but they make sense. We don't chase dreams in exchange for somedays that we hope will never come. And I state here with all sincerity that I do not want to end up disabled in a nursing home. I want a different someday.
My someday thoughts are growing old together, wiser, gentler and ever closer to Jesus until death is just the final step in a journey we've been on for many years. I envision not wealth, but enough. We live now in the house of our retirement and if all goes as planned, it will be paid for before we leave our jobs. We try to be careful with our health but we really do need to be more diligent in that area.
My someday is made of mornings on the deck admiring our flowers with the privacy hedge we planted in 2010 tall and full and fragrant. Drives here or there and out to lunch. Family dinners and grandchildren. And the two of us, full circle back to where we started. Just the two of us together.
Maybe someday sneaks up faster than we realize it will and we always believe that we'll be ready when it arrives. What surprises await us? What pain might be just beyond the next turn in the road? We can only learn from the good and poor examples we see and put our lives in the hands of God.
As long as there is family, there is hope. As long as there is Jesus to soften our hearts and draw us to one another, there is enough. As long as the sun rises, there is another someday to hold.