For those of you who don’t know, my father-in-law has Alzheimer’s and lost his wife of 55 years about two years ago. Even though he is still one of the sweetest, kindest, most gentle souls in all the land, the disease is taking away bits and pieces of his mind. He still loves the Lord, still gives great advice, still holds the door open for everyone, wants to listen and laugh and still remembers most of his family – for now.
He’d been mentioning that he might not ever see his brother again so my sister-in-law and the Mister decided to get them together again. To make a long story short, we all met in Avon, Colorado since the brother lives in Thermopolis, Wyoming.
The brother brought his wife, his only child/daughter and her husband. It’s really nice when you have cousins, uncles and aunts that get along well. Even those of us who married into the family (aka The Outlaws) get along. I joke about how lucky my husband is by marrying me but I’m the lucky one. Being with them made me laugh harder than I had laughed in a very very long time.
We canoed and paddle boarded on a gorgeous lake up in the mountains, watched two up close and personal fantabulous fireworks shows, played games, went ice skating with a nice 65 degrees, checked out the local fare and laughed so hard tears ran down my legs.
The week came to an end and the Wyoming side of the family left this morning. The others wanted to ride bikes down the mountain side so I volunteered to watch Bob. No one had to twist my arm – I was looking forward to it.
We dropped the adventurers off and took the scenic route to have lunch. He told me stories that I’ve heard many times before but this time I was overjoyed in hearing them again. Maybe it was because I had him all to myself or maybe because I wasn’t listening to 9 other people competing for Who Could Be The Loudest Show? Either way, today I was overjoyed. We talked about how his Grandfather was a veterinarian who pulled the loose teeth from him and his brother with vet tools and also gave them school immunizations. The way he described it made me laugh. With the teeth story, he said “Okay, I’m ready. No no wait, I’m not ready! Okay, let’s try again – no wait!” all with his hands held high waving in the air. We both chuckled so loud that heads turned to look at us.
We talked about his wife and how he still misses her. How he wondered why the Lord put them together and then separated them. I had the joy of listening to him talk about his cat and his new female friend. He said he can’t remember her name but can remember her face. I nearly died laughing. I said I hope he doesn’t lose his eyesight before he has to remember her name!
We talked about Heaven, a new earth, weird family members and childhood. Oh my. When he said it was okay for a man to have a new friend, go to church together, have dinner together and maybe watch a movie but not want to get married, my ears wanted to shut close. But it was actually a new tender moment with Bob. Something I never get to have.
He even said thank you for the talk, he appreciated me and was grateful to talk about it. We both got teary eyed and shared a hug. This four hours is worth more than any bike ride or shopping day. He truly is one of the most gentle souls in all the land. If I ever get the chance to do it again, I’m all in.