Tuesday, January 27, 2009


In all her 74 years, my mother has never paid bills, managed a checking account, or even renewed a license plate. Dad has always taken care of details like that.

Sunday night, Dad asked me to take him to the DMV to renew the plates on Mom's Jeep. He thought he'd sit in a chair while I waited in line and then come to the window when it was his turn.

Monday morning, I took the Jeep to be inspected and came back to get Dad. He couldn't get out of bed. I was more than willing to go, but Mom insisted on doing it herself.

Daddy cried for 45 minutes. "I can't control anything anymore," he said.

"We never can really control anything, Dad."

"But it was better when I believed I could."

I've always liked the image described by the Chinese—the one about living on a dragon's back. If you're aware you're riding a fire-breathing, reckless and powerful beast, you're not surprised when it bucks. If you understand you're at the mercy of forces beyond reckon, you give yourself over to fate. If you never imagine you have it, the loss of control is not devastating.

Maybe I better tell Dad about the dragon.

*The picture is the side of a cut through the Ozark Mountains down near my home town. Looking at the rocks/scales of the dragon, it's easy to believe we're on the back of a beast.


kario said...

Such a difficult lesson for a generation of individuals who were taught that to love someone is to take care of them - my father struggled with the thought that his wife wouldn't be able to do things without him there - his sense of responsibility toward her was so great.

And for someone who has always been able to manage details for themselves, each incremental loss of ability is like dying a little death.

Sending love and compassion and gentleness to you all as you find ways to take care of each other.

Amber said...

Aww, bless his heart. :(

This is the hardest part of getting old, I imagine.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

"But it was better when I believed I could." Wow. Such a truth-ism!

Anonymous said...

I know that you can help him embrace this new stage in his life. Letting go is hard, but necessary to make the transition easier in the end. My heart and thoughts are with you and your family during this tough time.


Erin in Boston

Stacy said...

Oh, I am sorry for what you are all going into. I think you should tell him about the dragon. Thanks for reminding me.Here's a strong hug- love

Go Mama said...

My love to all of you...

Amber said...

((cheking in))


Go Mama said...

sending you love...hope you're doing ok...