The business end of love – and a huge step in my dad’s journey

I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety.

Isaiah 46:4
– Derek Maul writes in North Carolina

Friday afternoon – after a full six months of research, prayer, visits, disappointments, prayer, interviews, tours, near-misses, and still more prayer – mum and I took my dad to an assisted living home where he can receive the quality of round-the-clock care he needs at this stage of his life.

I’d be fooling myself if I said I wasn’t torn right now, second-guessing, “what-if”ing and more. It was so hard to drive away, and to take mum back to their house without dad. No, I am not beating myself up, but I’m not patting myself on the back either. This is hard, this is visceral, this is the “business end” of love.

Dad’s new place is a beautiful house, shared with just five other residents, in a nice neighborhood five and a half miles from our home. It is owned and managed by someone who loves their work, who feels a real calling and sense of mission to provide long term care to the elderly, and who hires onsite caregivers who own a similar level of commitment.

– with mum on the porch of the care home

What is good about this situation is also exactly what adds up to heartache and distress. I no longer need to worry, 24-hours a day, that dad will need my help at any moment for his most basic care needs; yet it is that same 24/7 application of care, and love, and presence, that my mother will miss so very much.

It is good, for example, that I will not be called to go next door at 2:00 in the morning – but at the same time it breaks my mum’s heart that she will not hear him in the night when he calls her name.

I understand that this is just another leg of a very long and difficult journey; but it is a key milestone along the way, and the emotional impact for a couple who will have been married seventy years (this May) cannot be underestimated.

I feel confident about his new home:

While writing this I received an encouraging text from the facility owner, who followed up by sharing a message she received from a caregiver who just met dad for the first time:

“Dad had an awesome night and a great morning. He is so very lovely.”

“Omg he is sooooo sweet I love him and he is funny and so kind and he is relaxing in the recliner in the living room…….”

It is important to understand this: It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child; it takes a village for any one of us, at any age, to thrive. It is still true when you are almost 94 – like dad; or 66 – like me.

Peace and love and grace and blessings – DEREK

12 thoughts on “The business end of love – and a huge step in my dad’s journey

  1. Jean Futrell

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this. Until recently, I was having a similar internal struggle.
    I find that when I read what you share about your dad, it helps me where I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pastormargaret

    Oh, Derek, this is so hard. For you, for Rebekah, for your mother and your father, for your children and grandchildren. And for all who love you. And all who are walking this same journey – some of them without a community to call on for support. This is one of the times when all we can do is hold on – to each other, to family, to faith, to love, to Love (doesn’t Scripture say God is Love?). May you know the peace and comfort of the Spirit in these days. May your mother find peace as she learns once again to relax, to perhaps sleep through the night, to know that you have all done everything that can be done and in faith, move forward. Blessings!Margaret Marquis

    —————————————–From: “Derek Maul: Words and Photographs for the Journey” To: mmarquis1@cfl.rr.com Cc: Sent: Saturday April 9 2022 10:26:17AM Subject: [New post] The business end of love – and a huge step in my dad’s journey

    derekmaul posted: ” I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety.Isaiah 46:4 – Derek Maul writes in North Carolina Friday afternoon – after a full six months of research”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peggy Stringham

    Such a difficult decision for everyone involved. But sounds like your dad will get great care at his new home. That will be a comfort to you and your mom. Never having had to make such a choice for my parents, I felt your pain coming thru your article. Prayers for you and your parents as you adjust to the new normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If there was no love, the decision “might” be easier. I’ve been there. Prayers of comfort & peace for all of you. Hopefully some electronics help you stay connected w/Mum next door.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ted Hendry

    Thank you for sharing your journey, a journey so many us have shared or are sharing. I would give nothing for the spiritual and emotional journey I shared with my mother in her later years, challenging and heartaches included. Your stories put into words in a wonderful way what so many of us feel. Thank you, Derek.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Janet lowe

    Derek – reading your journey, I remember mine with my mom. It’s such a hard step and wrestling deep within. I pray for your peace, and for God to walk along with you through this…speaking words of wisdom, encouragement and healing. I hope you have a blessed Easter and learn some new insights this Holy Week.

    Liked by 1 person

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