Dad is 95 and in nursing care in Santa Rosa, CA. After an incident of outside staff "accidentally" drawing dad's blood, God put this writing on my heart at 3:00 a.m. and so I wrote.
--- Copyright © 2001 Barbara Jay Turpel
This is not for those loving, caring and devoted angels that see us through and sustain us. If it weren't for a handful of loving people, there would be no hope and Dad wouldn't have survived this long. Our loving thanks.
Here I am again, the light forces my eyes wide, another morning, another day.... Lord, I thought maybe....
Maybe this would be the day that I would awake in your presence the pain, the confusion, the fear would be gone....
Thought maybe today I would see all those familiar faces in places I belong....
What happened Father that I awoke, my mind and body gone but aware enough that these hands that touch me are not those that love me, but instead a constant reminder that I am just another diaper to change, just another mouth to feed, just another Lord?
When did I stop being me, Peter, the kid from the coast, who logged and fished, who is Somebody's Somebody? Who's hopes and dreams were of yesterday, but no less important than theirs, excepting they didn't include fancy cars and cell phones, but rather the basic dignities of life, the chance for my bride and me to watch our family grow in a safe world?
Here I am again; the perpetual light is on in that bright shiny hall, the loud voices, strange smells, the loud laughter at faceless ghosts. What have I done Lord, that my end deserves this? Was I not worth enough? Didn't I do a good job? Wasn't I the person you asked me to be?
Don't they know, I'm Somebody's Somebody?
Don't they know that just within the past ten years my bride and I were the privileged ones driving elderly neighbors to doctor appointments and sitting with them for hours of chemotherapy to curb their fears? We were doing their laundry, buying their groceries and making sure they wanted for nothing and didn't have to experience the slip into their own decline.
Isn't that what this journey was about, showing kindness and respect for the mere fact that we are all travelers on this same journey and we take turns lending a hand? Do you think Father that maybe they just don't realize and it's all a mistake? They don't know that I was once their age, just yesterday?
Why Father, why is it that there are just a handful of your angels working here? Why do you think the others don't see or feel what it must be like to be trapped in "the old man down the hall in room #5?"
My broken teeth can't eat fast enough as they either shove the cold food in my mouth in giant wads that gag, or leave it there on my table to remind me that I am incapable of feeding myself and they will be picking it up shortly as my stomach growls from hunger, but my hands and mind just won't do the work.
My hearing and sight fail me to the point of staff's irritation, because I am making them late to their lunch break. My memory is gone, except for the face and voice of my bride who is my only joy and my children, who every now and again I forget, but only for just a moment. My bowels and bladder fail me. They think I did it just to irritate them. But Father, in a different time, I would have been so humiliated, I just don't know how anymore.
I lay in my room today. Someone enters with foreign tools. I feel the prick of a needle in my arm. I am afraid. They draw this blood from my arm and I watch it leave.
My bride arrives later and asks, "What is this bandage for? Why did you draw his blood?
The answer, wrong room. Wrong room? To you who my life is entrusted and you say, wrong room?
I am but a memory now. All that could be done to this old ravaged body is done.
I might have been here one more day, one more rising sun, but someone didn't care today. He's just one more mouth to feed, got to cover the schedule you know. Just give him the pill and leave. Only thing was, my friend, it wasn't my medication that day.
I hope that God sees it in His will that before your day comes when your body grows tired, and it will, He finds a way to end this anguish when it's time for your last sun.
--- Peter Tock's Daughter