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Personal Freedom 

by Lynda Pogue

 

 

My family is close to putting our Papa into a Long Term Care facility (Nursing Home) and we are torn apart doing it.

 

He’s a glorious old gent who’s handsome and cute and sometimes grumpy and who has had quite a history. He’s also suffering cognitive problems and is slowly and continuously losing his memory and problem-solving abilities. This was a man who used to invent things, who studied Einstein, who engaged us in interesting discussions. He worked his way from delivering papers to becoming the successful owner of his own company with many employees. He lost his wife, our Mama, to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) 11 years ago and this took the wind out of his sails. However he’s lived his life to the fullest over the last few years. He is also a WWII veteran who fought for the kinds of freedom that he himself has lived for all of his life and you and I live today.

 

The folks at the Long Term Care facility thought they were telling us something hopeful when they said he “can’t escape”.  It IS wonderful that we won’t have to worry about the possibility of his falling on some sidewalk somewhere or getting lost. And at the same time it’s heart-wrenching. Whenever he feels like it, no more visiting his dog where he has been lovingly housed since Dad went into a Retirement Home.

No more going for a walk anywhere he wants whenever he feels like it.

No more going to the Dollar Store to see the latest bargain whenever he feels like it.

No more rummaging around that treasure-filled old bookstore whenever he feels like it.

No more taking a taxi to join his favourite harmonica group whenever he feels like it.

No more going anywhere just because he feels like it.

No more personal freedom.

And this will be because his own family took it away from him.

And because he would not be safe otherwise.

 

Yes he’ll have some wonderful programs and incredible care with the trained nurses and staff who will be honoured to watch over him.

And yes, he’ll be happy some (perhaps most) of the time. We can only pray that happiness happens for him because we can no longer get inside his mind like only his kids can do. The phrase that keeps marching through my mind is “personal freedom”.

I ache at the thought of this being taken from him. From myself. From anyone.

 

There are many Boomers that are all approximately the same age and this means that we all have parents about the same age. And right now there’s collective weight that we feel on our shoulders as we witness the deterioration of physical, emotional and mental health in our loved ones. It’s tough.

 

So, dear reader, I wonder if you might do me a favour?

Please take this moment to savour the delicious freedom that you have right this second.

What you choose to do with the next moment, tomorrow, next week is your own personal freedom. Make the most of it. Revel in it. Be aware of the gifts inherent in it.

 

And, if you get the chance, please take the time to thank an old war vet for the privilege of the personal freedom you have.