There are many things to love about my husband but one of them is that he doesn’t hesitate when someone needs help. That was never more evident than when my Dad’s health began to fail.
Dad had Parkinson’s Disease for more than a decade. It started with tremors and then progressed, slowly at first, to rob him of his independence. He needed a hand to get out of a chair, then to button his shirt, and eventually to do anything at all. In February, Dad had been in long-term care for just a few weeks. Derek and I arrived early to take him to breakfast at a nearby restaurant he said he wanted to try. However, when we got there he changed his mind. The place looked busy and perhaps his fragility worried him. He didn’t like getting in peoples’ way, although most people were patient. (And those who weren’t got my direct, eye-to-eye death stare from hell.) We pulled into the parking lot and he asked if we could go to a McDonald’s drive-thru instead. Of course we could.
He ordered an Egg McMuffin with a hash brown and coffee, Derek and I got some food too, and around we went to the front of the parking lot where the people-watching was best. Dad struggled a bit with his food but he didn’t ask for help and we didn’t want to treat him like a child, so we all ate quietly while small-town Saturday morning traffic ambled past. Our food finished, wrapping crumpled and stuffed in the bag, Dad said, “I don’t know how to tell you this.” We braced ourselves. “I could eat a whole ‘nother one of those.” We laughed, Derek started the truck and we went through the drive-thru again. “Only this time, get them to cut the Egg McMuffin in quarters, will you?”
I took this photo from the back seat of our truck as Derek separated the quartered Egg McMuffin. As the melted cheese cooled down, it acted like glue between sections and Dad couldn’t pull them apart.
These two guys loved each other, although neither said so in those words. When Derek would leave the room, Dad would tell me what a great guy he was. When Dad needed help, especially if my brother Kevin wasn’t around, Derek was too happy to give him a hand. It’s a simple, little moment in time but it meant so much to me. When Dad died in April, he knew he was loved for different reasons, in different ways. Can’t ask for much more than that.