Friday, December 6, 2019

300th Post

This post today marks the 300th entry into the blog.  With over 61,000 views, it's humbling to think about how many people have viewed these pages from all over the world.  

My Dad went into the hospital yesterday to have a heart procedure done.  While it was a relatively "routine" procedure, it feels lesser so as he becomes older.  Both of my parents are past 75 and heading toward 80.  Luckily they are both able to get around well and do not currently need extra support.  But you can now feel those independent days coming to an end.  So many of my friends and coworkers seem to be entering into the same territory, which makes me feel as though I'm passing into a different stage of my life.

I can't imaging what its like to be the one being taken care of, since I have been so heavily engaged in caregiving for so long.  Seeing my Dad last night and today gave me a glimpse however.  And it made me remember one very important thing:

We cannot ever discount a person's right to their dignity and their right to make their own choices.

In Tyler's case, it could be easy to forget that he is a man.  I have to believe, that no matter how pervasive his disabilities are, that he holds his own dignity in high importance.  He likely doesn't perceive it in the same way that most of us do, but he deserves that dignity all the same.  

My Dad takes his independence and pride very seriously.  He comes from a generation that relied on being strong and self-reliant, so he doesn't accept help easily.  He would sooner take twice as long to do something, than to have me help him do it.  It isn't that he doesn't like doing things with me, he just likes to do things on his own terms.  While this can be frustrating and at times nonsensical, I have to respect that it's important to him.  Its his way of maintaining control, even as the control begins to slip away.  He was always the one that stepped up and made decisions in times of crisis.  He was always the one to talk with doctors and make sense of situations for the elder generations.  Now, those generations are gone, and he is becoming the one getting closer to that role.  His son is now becoming more involved in his plans for the future.

Whether we are doing things and making decisions for Dad, or Tyler, or each other, we have to keep those rights at the forefront of our minds.  They are valued and irreplaceable parts of our lives who have traveled a long road to get to this point.  They deserve to be treated with care, respect, and humility.  They are not simply a name on a hospital registry, or a part of a government program.  They are first and foremost children of God, and sons, and fathers, and brothers, and friends.  

Be well and God bless.    Tom

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