I sat down this chilly morning in Virginia to write this update. I'm working from my iPad here, and midway through I got up to take a shower. I closed my iPad. When I got back downstairs and opened it to continue writing there was, strangely, a song playing. I hadn't opened the music app on this thing - ever. I don't even know what music is on here and never use it for that. The song playing, much to my shock, of all things, was Peter Pan's You Can Fly. I have no idea how it even got on there.
But I knew what had happened. Ever since Mike died, many of us, especially me and his girls, have experienced things like this. We all believe he sends us messages various ways, but most particularly through music, certain songs playing at certain times. And today, this was one I needed to hear, right at the time I needed to hear it. Mike was Peter Pan, in so many ways, and we all used to joke about that. He loved all things Disney, he adored Peter Pan, he loved to sing along to all the songs and knew every word...he never grew up either, and now he can fly, and now I know he is in Neverland, where someday I know I will be too, with him. Just the happy energy of that song brought Mike back in a rush...the exuberant, silly guy he was, the positive guy who was always cheerleading me on through the hard times...he is here. I sat and listened to the song play, thinking of the way he was, missing him, and taking his message seriously. I hear you, Mike...think of the happiest things, it's the same as having wings...
I've felt so far away from him. Especially during this particularly difficult time here in Virginia helping care for my dad, the stress, frustration and anxiety has been overwhelming for all of us. Those happy days so long ago now, listening to my happy husband buzz around the house, singing a happy song, reminding us to remember the joy, sharing so much wisdom, laughing at a favorite movie...it just feels like another lifetime ago. But this morning, Mike came flying back into my heart, wearing his favorite Robin Hood hat, laughing and reminding me that good times and joy are only a thought away. At least, that is how he saw things, for the most part. He truly did live with a kind of innocent, childlike joy that was so contagious...and when he died, we all felt like the music went out of our life. Except, we can say with gratitude, for these surreal moments in which we know without a speck of doubt that he is with us, sending a message in a way only we can understand.
It has been a particularly difficult week with dad and his growing issues. I had a walking nightmare the other night which I don't remember at all and which frightened my mom who woke up and found me. The only other time that's happened to me is after Mike died. This morning I woke up feeling despondent at the onset of yet another day dealing with it all, despondent at the idea of even writing about it, and deeply sad for having to put dad somewhere with more complete care than we can provide. When I sat down to finish this blog it was with a heavy heart, heavier than I can remember for a long time, and then that song came on and it changed the energy in the room and in my heart, at least for awhile.
And there is good news. We have had some success this week. We found a place for dad...a good place, we hope, very close by here in the neighborhood, a private home type setting that feels good and smells good, only eight patients with two live-in caregivers and all the right licenses and support mechanisms in place. As soon as all the paperwork is completed (which is a lot) and details are arranged we'll be moving him in. I've been able to make plans to fly back to Kona on Thanksgiving day, when prices are cheaper, so I can be there for my stepdaughter's wedding that Saturday. And then, for a time, to try and recuperate from this caregiving experience. People who do this full time for months and years on end...I just have no idea how they do it, and God bless them.
The social worker for our home care medical team was here today to help us with support and options, and to assess dad a little. She asked if we'd tried music as a kind of therapy, to help him find some peace from the agitation, to bring back good memories. We have. He can, for a time, be consoled by playing one of his favorite records. A couple of times in the rehab center a few weeks ago, a visiting musician would play an oldie that got that senior crowd going - including my dad. For that brief moment, a flash back to a happier time would lift the spirits and raise a smile. As I listened to the social worker talk about how she's witnessed music helping I kept thinking of my own musical therapy I received today. You can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly...repeating in my head and in my heart all day, Mike's laugh gently swaying through, twinkle in his eye, promises of joy and Neverland and leaving my cares behind, as he did so easily, as I hope my dad can also do easily, when the time is right for him.
There it is, Wendy, second star to the right
And straight on 'til morning...