Getting Old Sucks!

The JudgeGETTING OLD SUCKS! I’m not sure at what age that old saw really starts hitting home. I suppose, like most things in life, it varies by individual. What I know for sure is that, for my nearly 93-year old father-in-law, it’s hitting home right now.

Yesterday, Sande had to put her dad in an assisted living facility—his Alzheimers/Dementia/Parkinsons/And Just Plain Being “Tired & Weak” finally making it too much for his 92-year old wife to handle.

The facility is nice. The staff seems to really care. Sande made the room look great. Many of his favorite things are with him—his comfortable chair, the old movies that he watches over and over (westerns and WW II, mostly), his paintings of a favorite dog, his old Judge Thomas A. Lohm plaque, family photos and retirement caricatures. Everything’s there except him, of course. And I suppose that’s a blessing.

And yet, even though “the Judge” is unable to care for himself now, after a lifetime of caring for his wife and daughters, and the countless scalawags and scoundrels who he either defended or judged, there remains an occasional glimpse of the old boy I first met nearly 30 years ago.

This morning, when Sande went by to see him, she sent me this text:

“He’s acting crazy—won’t take his medication and keeps talking about an old white woman who stole his money and put a curse on him.”

My initial reaction was concern. Then I thought about the Judge’s great sense of humor and I texted back:

“Ask him if the old white woman is short, plump, and usually eats the food off his plate.” (Sande’s mom’s M.O.)

Sande read him my response and he laughed. That’s my boy! Despite all the mixed up stuff that I can only imagine is spinning around through his muddled mind, he can still grab a piece of the chatter and be amused.

People deal with these situations every day—sending loved ones away from home and placing them in the care of total strangers. It’s heartbreaking, heart wrenching, and, worse, it can feel so heartless.

My maternal grandparents each just walked up to their bedroom one afternoon (albeit two years apart) to take a nap. They never woke up. That was a pretty good deal.

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