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Thankful to still have my dad around for this Father’s Day

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This past weekend offered all of us a time to express our gratitude for fathers on Father’s Day.

Both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day force all of us to stop our busy schedules to reflect on the people God has used to bring us into this world.

Some are fortunate like I am to still be able to spend Father’s Day with their father, though in his declining health, he is not the same dad I was blessed to grow up with.

My wife and I are his caretakers. It is difficult to see him decline in his health so much this past year. He’s the skinniest he’s ever been in his life. He can barely walk these days and it definitely takes two of us to help him do some of the basic things he was able to do just a year and a half ago.

But through it all, he’s still my dad. He still has some of his ornery humor and quick wit that comes out from time to time. It’s his way of reminding us that he’s still here, though we are unsure for how long that may be.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think in my early 40s that my dad would be living in our home depending on us for his every need. It’s been about three years now since we’ve taken on this task. We’re young in compared to many couples tasked with this responsibility. It’s extremely hard and exhausting most of the time.

Though he is skinnier, he still has some weight to him.

It makes it difficult to hold him up for long periods of time just to make a transition from one location to another.

While at work during the day, my wife is many times faced with the challenge of moving him on her own if I’m unavailable.

It’s physically demanding on her at times and it is hard for me to see her have aches and pains that I simply cannot fix. Unfortunately, there may come a day that I may have no choice but to fix them (i.e. if she needs surgery or physical therapy).

For anyone who has been in our position, I’m sure you can relate. I am so thankful for my wife. She didn’t ask for this, but she has willingly taken on a difficult task that neither of us envisioned would happen this early in our lives when we were married 19 years ago. She knows it is an assignment that God has given us. Though I loved her infinitely before this time in our lives, my love for her grows as I watch her be so good to my father in his time of need. Thank you God for blessing me with Kristy Schott. The task of taking care of my father also affects our family as we are unable to leave the home for lengthy periods of time without having some sort of temporary care lined up for him.

If we want to go see family four hours north of here, typically one of us need to stay home with my dad while the rest of the family makes the road trip. Even going to Springfield requires us to recruit someone to sit with him or it forces us to leave there quickly so we don’t leave him too long without someone at the home.  I write about these challenges to provide an insight to those like us who are taking care of a loved one inside their own home.

It’s challenging, it’s exhausting and it’s life-changing. But like many others, I know our family is so grateful God has allowed us to be there for my dad. After years of living half a continent away from him, I am blessed to see him every day. I love my dad. I am frustrated for him that he can’t do what he once did. It’s difficult to watch. But I’m also grateful I can still make eye contact with him, love on him and still joke with him. One day, I will not get to do that any more.

I’m thankful to still have my dad around for yet another Father’s Day.

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