Monday, February 27, 2012

Tiring out

10:05 p.m. Today's project was to visit my dad for our quarterly review of his trust, and the order in which I, as his successor trustee, need to perform a list of his estate's post-mortem actions, like getting his death certificate certified by San Bernardino County and paying bills. I think he holds these sessions because he knows that with all I have going on--Steve's care and care arrangements, running our household, the family, women's ministry leadership, my Mary Kay business--I am probably not retaining a large percentage of the detailed duties I'll need to carry out. None of the above ministries can be put on "auto pilot," nor should they be. Others assist, participate and lend their God given talents, but the accountability and decision making is given to the leader, by God's calling and design. The Apostle Paul exhorted Archippus in Colossians 4:17,

Take heed to the ministry which you have received from the Lord, that you may fulfill it.

At least retirement allows me to schedule my days and be flexible with my time, making it possible for me to visit with Daddy. So we took a tour of desks and documents, property lines and policies, and finally sat down at the kitchen table where I finished up some notes. On the way in from the garage, I asked Daddy how he was feeling, and he said in an disgusted voice, "I feel fine, but I'm just so tired all the time! I start to work on something for 5 or 10 minutes, and then I have to sit down!" I replied, "Daddy, you've worked hard all your life. At 84, if you need to sit down, just do it. You've earned it!" He did disclose that a radiologist had found a cyst on his kidney, but his primary care physician hasn't yet called him about it.  He mentioned that some calcium deposits were found also. Apparently he'd had quite a few in previous years, but just cut back on excess calcium in his diet. I'll urge him again to make an appointment soon with his primary doctor to get the results of that CAT scan, and I'll go with him..

The idea occurs to me to ask him if he'd like to come live with us, because we certainly have the space, but you could bowl me over with a feather if he ever agreed to that! So I call him regularly, he drives over here or I visit there, and will now do so more often. If he doesn't answer the phone, I call back until he does. My sister and her kids have been over to visit from San Diego more frequently, and our nephew from Los Angeles goes over on his own. Heidi and Pavel live right down the street and call him regularly. I wish Steven lived closer, and Kriss, too. We'll have to make sure to take Daddy to see his great-grandson Clark when he arrives at the end of next month.

As for getting tired, that is a natural stage, I believe, even for those who maintain a busy schedule well into their 90's, like Billy Graham. (Just not as busy  or physically strenuous as it was in earlier decades). The tiredness is not necessarily mental, because Daddy is very on top of details and deadlines. Perhaps it becomes emotional, kind of a drained mood that creeps in.

The description of a person's last days in Chapter 12 of Ecclesiastes ends that book beautifully, particularly verses 1, and 6-7:

Remember now your Creator
  in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
and the years draw near when
  you say,
"I have no pleasure in them."

Remember your Creator before
  the silver cord is loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the
Or the wheel broken at the well.

Then the dust will return to the
  earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God
  who gave it.

As I headed out the front door, my sinking heart was uplifted-- there was no more Jehovah Witness literature! Stacked very neatly in his reading corner by the window were a Bible I'd given Daddy years ago, and the two daily devotionals that were among his Christmas gifts from us. In the last few months, he'd asked us to get him the Christian movie Courageous, and before that, Billy Graham's latest book Nearing Home.

Daddy could last another decade, and I pray he will! But now I have a peace that his spirit "will return to God who gave it!"

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