His clothes have been laundered and labeled, the forms completed, the insurance switched. Copious instructions have been emailed, paperwork notarized, and attorneys consulted. Framed pictures have been packed, medications refilled and a COVID test taken. Appointments have been made, deadlines have been met and prayers have been answered.
In just a matter of hours, we’re taking my Father from the house he’s called home for nearly 40 years and moving him to Fountainview Center for Alzheimer’s in Atlanta.
I’ve fought this move for years, pushed it out of my mind and prayed it would never happen. But my eyes have been opened and I’ve been so broken that I haven’t just accepted this move, I’ve welcomed it. For every form we’ve completed, hurdle we’ve crossed and logistic we’ve managed, my heart and mind have endured just as much preparation for this day.
I’m letting go of my Father.
My 5’ 2” frame cannot lift him from the floor when he falls or move him safely across the room when he’s too medicated to walk. It’s like playing a three-legged race with a tree trunk. There’s little progress to show for it, only rope burns on your legs. He is my Father and I love him dearly. But he needs more than I can give him.
Lists have been made for weeks and prayers attached to everything on those lists. And just like staring at a wake from the back of a boat, I can trace my Father’s hand over these last few weeks, punctuating those lists with His presence in ways only He could orchestrate. Doors have been opened and a legion of friends and strangers have advised, helped, prayed and loved us through the process of moving my Dad into his new home.
How do I know it was God? I’ll answer that with a story. And another. And another.
Three years ago, my Father lost his Social Security card, an essential piece of identification required for elder care. I tried to verify his identification online, but to no avail. Then COVID closed all Social Security Administration offices. So my friend and I asked God to intervene. I phoned the SSA and was told only people without a Social Security number were allowed an in-person appointment. When I mentioned that my Dad was on hospice and we were trying to move him into a facility, I was given an appointment at a local office the following day.
The appointment was at 11:30. We never got out of the car. They came to my window at 11:15, took our paperwork inside and within five minutes, my Father’s application for a replacement card was approved. I pulled out of the parking lot at 11:26. A federal agency processes an application within five minutes, all ahead of our scheduled appointment time. There is nothing coincidental about that.
I’ll tell you another story.
I discovered on February 10th that Dad’s insurance had to be changed for him to be accepted into Fountainview. A friend put me in touch with a Medicare specialist named Trent and before I realized it, I was listening to everything I never wanted to know about Medicare. All I understood was that the enrollment period to make any changes had come and gone. So what could we do?
“There is an exception for nursing home Medicare,” said Trent. “And the deadline is February 15th.”
I held onto the phone in disbelief while the oxygen left my lungs like the air in a tire. If I had waited one more week, it would have been too late.
For every story I’ve told, there are more that I haven’t. And there aren’t just things that have fallen perfectly into place for this transition to happen. There are bright spots for the weeks ahead.
When I learned that Dad would have to be kept in an observation area for 2 weeks, I imagined workers in hazmat suits walking around him as if he were a lab rat. But that isn’t the case at all. Dad will be with other new residents, enjoying activities and social interaction, a sort of freshman orientation before he moves into his permanent room. And because Atlanta’s COVID numbers have dropped, we’ll be allowed to visit Dad as soon as he emerges from his 2-week observation area.
I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe in prayer. And going through this emotional roller coaster of a process has taught me that God cares about everything. Every. Little. Thing. If it matters to you, it matters to God. His plans are good. His love is reckless and His timing is perfect.
Here we go…