By Rick Hamlin
Dad’s New Home
Mom has always said that when she says her daily prayers for her family she needs to picture where everybody is.
I just got back from a quick trip to California and now I can picture where Dad is in his new home, the health center out at Monte Vista Groves, a place of spiritual living and healing prayer. “I was sick and you visited me,” says the bronze plaque next to the wide glass doors.
I can picture Dad’s new prayer circle. There’s his roommate, Allen, a retired minister who proclaimed, “I have a great roommate.” There’s Paul, a neighbor he’s known for years who asked me, “What class were you in high school?” and did I know his daughter and son there? He asked it several times. There’s the couple from Buffalo, the husband a real football fan, and sweet Lucille who just got her hair done. There were the caregivers too, Cristina and Myrna and Gilberto. Theirs is a work of great compassion and love.
I pushed Dad around in his wheelchair and we went outside where we could admire the green-yellow lemons on the trees, the bright orange persimmons hanging heavy from the boughs, the sweet pomegranates and the roses. An Eden-like landscape.
I also sang for Dad and his new friends in the room where they gather for meals. Seemed to me that he hummed along right on key and one woman who hardly spoke beamed at me, singing every word of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” and “Younger Than Springtime.”
Dad has lots of visitors. He eats well, especially his desserts. He has much family close by. And he has landed in a peaceful place.
Maybe I didn’t have to travel two thousand miles to know that, but kissing his cheek as I left, I could feel more reassured. I’ll go back but for now that’s as much as I could ask.