I haven’t lived in the same town as my parents for over 27 years.
I didn’t have any real hopes of being able to either. My folks worked in the ministry from the time I graduated high school until, well, now. Because of the generosity and gratitude of a church in Atlanta, now called The Path, mom and dad were able to stay in their house of 27 years even as their ability to serve the church grew to be less and less.
Dad began showing signs of something being “not quite right” over 25 years ago. He had an episode that led to a diagnosis of transient global amnesia,
He’d feel a little ‘foggy’ and tired and then after that fugue would pass, hours or days later, he’d not be able to remember anything that happened during the cloudy time. The first episode wasn’t followed by another for nearly a year, then the next about 6 months later, then the next a little quicker, until eventually the episodes were coming more regularly so that by the time he was in his mid 70s his short term memory was virtually gone.
Dad is 83 now. Through a remarkable series of opportunities and events, we were able to move mom and dad to Portland.
Friends I’ve had for over 30 years and friends of mom and dad made it possible. Tom Brown and the church in Atlanta called North River, along with North View where Jim Lenahan and Steve Sapp preach, and Ben Barnett and the church called Bridgepoint, along with the aforementioned Path gave money to pay for mom and dad’s move. Mike and Shawn Patterson have been better ‘children’ to my folks than I have and took care of them for the past two decades and still are going the second mile in helping me figure out how to tie up all of our loose ends in Atlanta. I’m so thankful for the ‘village’ I belong to, a village that is fairly global in reach, yet close and personal in times of need.
Mom and dad now reside in an independent living facility, which passes for a really nice four story apartment building, about 10 minutes from where I live. The building has a great restaurant with some of the best cheeseburgers in town. Here’s dad doing two things he loves most; eating a burger and looking at mom.
Being able to see them regularly is a new experience and so far the most exciting thing is seeing how much dad is able to remember from day to day what we’ve been doing together. He loves riding out to walk the dog with me…
… and is able to recall days later the different places we’ve been.
It’s only been a week. Their first week here, near me, and my first week of being on call in a way I’ve never quite experienced before.