“Every day is a beautiful day. You just have to take it the way it comes.” This is a quote I jotted in the car the other day, taking my father to see a friend. (In a few minutes, I will explain how he happened to say this.)
My father is one of the most loving souls on this planet. He always has been.
He is 95 years old and has been sliding into dementia for several years, to the point he now seems to live entirely in the present moment. He doesn’t think about tomorrow or five minutes ago. His smiles and cheerful comments bring people into his company. Folks naturally enjoy being around him, and he radiates their joy back to them.
A month ago, my sister and I moved him into a precious environment we found a few miles from his home. It is a memory support unit that is set up like a spacious family home. He and thirteen others have their own private bedrooms with en suite bath. Each exits the bedroom into a large great room – kitchen with skylight, dining area, living area with comfy chairs and television. There are activities galore. I think the transition was easier for him than for us, emotionally. He does not seem to realize he moved from his home, perhaps because he is in what I think of as an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of beingness.
Every single staff person who works with him has made a point of telling us how much they love him. “He is the kindest man I ever met.” “He is so sweet.” “Everyone just loves him.” “He is so appreciative, he thanks us for every little thing – even giving him a pill.” All who work there are caring and compassionate people, and it is a pleasure to witness the love-fest they have with my father.
He has long remarked on the world around him, calling our attention to the beautiful clouds, the beautiful flowers, even the bright yellow of a car. He embraces and reflects love, joy, beauty, and other wonderfulness.
Now, for the story about the quote at the beginning of this post. We were driving through a fairly heavy rain. The temperature had dropped from 60 to 39 degrees F in the past couple hours. My father looked at the sky and said, “It’s a beautiful day.” I repeated his statement, though I’d turned it into a question. That was the moment he offered his wisdom. “Every day is a beautiful day. You just have to take it the way it comes.”