Come sit on the porch awhile. Enjoy a glass of sweet iced tea as you peruse my thoughts, memories, dreams and images of family and friends - things trivial and not so trivial - past, present and future. I write and post for the simple pleasure of doing so. If you reap some small amount of pleasure from what you find here please come back again soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy 98th Walter!

My father-in-law turned 98 today.
He was totally blinded in both eyes by two different coal mining cave-ins some 56 years ago. Despite this "handicap" he was able to support his family by farming, and raising first chickens, then cattle. With that and the miner's pension he eventually got, he made a decent living.
He was a hard working and thrifty man and lived on his own after loosing his lovely wife (my wonderful 'Jewel' of a mother-in-law) up until just a few short years ago.
He remains strong in some ways but is now unable to walk and spends all of his days in a chair at the nursing home. He can’t watch television or read books so he dreams of days gone by and, not surprisingly, talks about working mules, killing hogs, and clearing land.
People who actually take the time to spend time with him can learn a lot from him. For instance, I now know step-by-step how to butcher a hog and that might come in handy one of these days.
He doesn't have a lot of visitors. My husband goes at least every other day, more often if needed, and I usually go with him on Saturday or Sunday. Trips to visit him are not always is a nursing home after all and life there is, well, not good to say the least. Most of the patients are sad and lonely, including him, and the sense of helplessness and hopelessness is overwhelming. But still, I and others like me, should visit him more often.
He is a remarkable man who has lived a remarkable life. He has certainly earned his keep. But now he only waits on death in a lonely place filled with strange noises, smells and people - a very big deal for a independent blind man who is used to ‘feeling’ his way around in his own home.

Walter, you don’t know it but you are on my mind this evening. And I’m wishing for you busy dreams to get you through the long days ahead and sweet dreams to get you through the nights. Push those nightmares you were telling me about aside and know that your home in heaven awaits. We are selfish and want to keep you around forever but we also know that better things are coming for you. How else can we live with how you’re living now but to know it will get better for you someday?