I tucked my dad into bed tonight. I made sure he had his Nurse Call button and he held onto it under the covers like a teddy bear. (Tomorrow I’ll take his own pyjamas to him in the hospital and his holding cross, the one that used to belong to my mum). Then I got him an extra blanket and tucked it in all around him, chose and read some Bible passages followed by a prayer, kissing him goodnight. Just like I used to do with my sons when they were little.
It was a precious moment.
It didn’t matter that our roles have reversed. It didn’t matter that I have become the parent and he the child. It didn’t matter that that I have to be the strong one, the wise one, the deciding one. It didn’t matter that he has become the trusting one, the reliant one, the dependent one.
It only matters that we love each other. It was a privilege to be able to do these small, familiar, comforting things that made him feel secure and loved. This is how his mother would have loved him when he was ill as a child; this is how my mother did love him when he was unwell as a husband; so this is how I love him now he is in hospital as my father. And he repays me with the great compliment of trust. His acceptance and my service are each our part of the bargain that is love.
This is unknown territory. Let me walk it well.