2021 wasn't a great year. Lost my Stepdad.

by Wendy, Retirement Enthusiast/Coach

Written in July 2021:
My father (technically step-dad) is dying. He collapsed a week ago Friday night and we've spent the week in the hospital. I am so grateful that we were accepted into the hospital hospice program, so he doesn't have to be moved. He is comfortable with family at his side daily. Mom holds his hand for 12 hours each day, side by side, at age 95... she is exhausted.

It's odd how, logically, intellectually, at 93, he is fragile -- it's been more and more difficult to help him at home. Then something happens, and you are in shock! I am in overwhelm mode. I admit it. Everything moves so slowly in the hospital and yet, quickly with so many decisions daily on his care, updates, too much to comprehend.

My sister has taken on most of the legwork, paperwork, consultations. Full of Gratitude for Lorri! We are both very different, but we sync beautifully to complete the job!

Can't believe I've stayed overnight with him at the hospital in the midst of COVID! It's true -- you do what you must, and I did.

July 19, 2021 -- Chuck died.

Oddly enough, I can't seem to write my thoughts. What I have written remains unpublished. I have no closure on this.

December 2021 (six months post-death):
When I look back, I can't believe what has happened. Another huge life experience in death paperwork, hospitals, rehab, assisted living, and so much more.

  • Mom fell and broke her right shoulder and hip three weeks after Papa died.

  • One long week in the hospital, rod placed in the hip, mentally out of it.

  • Moved to Rehab Facility. Small movements, mini movements, brought her to slowly use her leg again. She will likely never walk again, but she can help move from a wheelchair to where she needs to go. She can walk with a walker a bit too.

    Mom is tenacious about doing her rehab, at 95! I am amazed at her courage and strength. She was very fortunate to stay 8-weeks in Rehab as Medicare only pays when you are making progress... I witnessed many who had to leave much earlier, and they weren't doing well.

  • Mom was moved after eight weeks to Assisted Living.

    She uses a wheelchair to get to the dining room and other meeting places. She has a few friends and enjoys chatting with people again. She is a social lady and is enjoying living a new lifestyle.

    ** I do have to add, mom wanted to die through all of this. It was very painful. She hated being totally dependant on everyone. "Why can't I go with Chuck and just die?" It wasn't a bed of roses. We had many hard talks and at 95, she chose life.

    I am off now to help set up the Bingo Store at Mom's Assisted Living. They win Bingo Bucks which they spend at the Bingo store! Fun Fun!

    Happy Holidays to All.

  • Comments for 2021 wasn't a great year. Lost my Stepdad.

    Click here to add your own comments

    So long-farewell to 2021
    by: Living single/Boston

    Wendy, I’m so happy to hear that your mom is doing well and I send condolences on Chuck’s passing.

    My 2021 is similar to yours. I’ve written about my long term relationship before…worrying about me being responsible when his health deteriorated.

    Well his health got progressively worse in May 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since he has no close relatives close by I agreed to be his medical and durable power of attorney. His wish and intent was for me to move in with him or him with me.

    After 2 spinal surgeries I knew I would not be able to care for him. So after much paperwork, confusion and missteps he has been living in assisted living. He’s spent the month of November in the hospital with a kidney problem and 2 weeks in rehab, so I assume there was not enough progress shown for him to stay longer.

    He’s back home and we’ll see how long it will take him to stabilize again. He misses his house which was sold and his car which was a lease that returned early. He’s unable to walk and is right side paralyzed from a stroke. He hates living at his new home and won’t socialize with the other residents.

    I chose a facility close to my home and visit him 2 or 3 times a week which is never enough for him. Every time I walk in the door I imagine myself living under these conditions and I try to be open minded about what decision my children might make regarding my care…but it can be very difficult to see the future regardless of what preparations you make.


    Wendy: As I told mom, we all have choices in life. She can sit in her room and be angry about what happened or she can get out and have a little bit of conversation and fun with others.

    She isn't paralyzed on one side, but d*&^ close with 1) age 95, 2) broken shoulder and hip. Her right arm is almost useless from months in a sling as it was inoperable. However, it was a challenge for her -- to eat with her left hand (which she is doing well right now), then forgets about her right hand and just USES IT. :)

    Maybe half of the residents are in wheelchairs, so no embarrassment there. Life goes on and she is busy daily with whatever the activity of the day is. Sometimes I push her a bit, she'd rather nap. But she goes, I see smiles, and know it was the right thing.

    Keeping you in my prayers. Hoping he comes around and chooses LIFE again. Nobody chooses to live here -- but there are many pleasant times of the day and they are safe there.

    p.s. I attended a Christmas Party with mom yesterday. About 15 people (someone's family) brought in gift bags for everyone living there, sang Christmas songs, and SMILES GALORE! People were singing and grinning ear to ear!

    Click here to add your own comments

    Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Wendy Retired.