12.31.2017

Family Life Takes Precedence.

A Momentary Hiatus While I Take Care of Family.

Dad. Eight Years Ago.


We’ve discussed many things here on the Visual Science Lab blog but dealing with family and loss hves never been among them. I consider myself lucky; I’ve made it to sixty-two and have only lost two close friends, and until now, no one in my close family. There have been brushes with mortality but always followed by successful recoveries. I haven’t given enough thought to just how much a death in the family can affect the day to day routines and expectations of a self-employed person’s life —- until now. 

It was the morning of Christmas Eve and family was getting ready to converge on my parent’s house to celebrate. My father has been dealing with dementia for years and, for the most part, my mother was his primary caregiver; keeper of the finances, scheduler of the doctors appointments for both of them, as well as the social director for them both. My sister and brother-in-law were in town and staying at my parent’s house.

Just after breakfast my mother, who has been dealing with C.O.P.D. for many years collapsed, unable to catch her breath. My sister called 911 and off to the hospital she and my mother went in an ambulance with lights flashing. Mother suffered cardiac arrest in the hospital but was revived after six minutes of CPR and other procedures. Once stabilized she was intubated and sent to the intensive care ward under sedation. My brother-in-law (the man is a blessing!) stayed at home with my father.

My little family was still in Austin. Our usual Christmas ritual was to have Christmas Eve dinner with a family we have known and loved for decades. We planned to ring in Christmas with nice wines and better company. One phone call from my sister and I had a bag packed and was heading south on highway I-35 as quickly as I safely could. 

Ben and Belinda could handle anything that needed to be done in Austin. 

When I got to the hospital my mother was sedated and unconscious and there was nothing for me to do there. My sister insisted on staying by her side so I headed to the family home to check on my father. He was agitated and having trouble understanding or processing what was happening. My older brother lives in San Antonio and he was at my parent’s house adding his help in caring for my father and sorting out our next steps. All the grandchildren were arriving in town, there were hams and tamales and holiday food in the refrigerators. None of that mattered anymore. 

My mother got progressively worse. When she was taken off sedation all she wanted was to come home. She was inconsolable. We talked to the doctors who were pessimistic about her chances and they agreed to send her home with hospice care. She died quietly and without pain in her own bed yesterday at 12:52 pm. 

Earlier in the day yesterday, Belinda, Ben and I had taken my father to a well regarded “Memory Care” facility for evaluation. If you are familiar with the term “memory care” in this context it’s basically an assisted care facility with emphasis on patients with memory loss, Alzheimer’s and dementia. We have a small apartment reserved but it won’t be ready until the end of this week —- and making the reservation will be the easiest part of the battle; dementia patients can have big mood swings and may go from liking a place to having paranoid delusions, anger and panic later in the same day. 

My sister and her family have gone home to the east coast. She needs to take care of herself as she has a serious cancer battle to fight and is overdue for her chemotherapy. My brother and his wife are school teachers handling some student debt for their three children’s recent college work and they need to get back to work as well. 

Many years ago my parents, in their wills, divided up the duties of their children as regards medical directives and estate management. The burden of medical decisions falls to my older brother (he lives in the same city as my parents) and he’s been wonderful in jumping into all kinds of situations with my parents and helping. He’s the one they call at 3 in the morning when my father has ended up on the floor and is unable to get back up. He’s the one they’ve called when the pipes froze or the electricity went out. Proximity ends up meaning “more responsibilities.”

My duty is to take over the financial end. To sort out to whom my parents owe money, from whom they receive money, which insurances need to be changed or renewed, to pay their bills and to be a good enough steward to make sure they don’t run out of money before they run out of life.

My mother kept things running, financially, and never shared information willingly, but in the last few years she allowed me to set up things like a durable power of attorney. Her filing methodology consisted of paying the bills as they came in and then putting the paperwork into shopping bags, trash bags, random desk drawers, under the sink, etc. 

With my sister out of the picture and my brother heading back to work I am currently shouldering the 24-7 task of both caring for my father ( from first coffee and oatmeal to changing adult diapers and repeating (with a smile on my face) the same answer to the same question that he may have asked twenty or thirty times in the last hour. He is sometimes quite lucid and pleasant and as he wears down over the course of the day will sometimes become agitated and disoriented, insisting that “this is not my house! Take me to my real house!” and then deciding that I am a stranger coming to rob him. It’s a tough change from my (last week) previous life which mostly consisted of swimming on my own schedule, having coffee with friends and colleagues along with bouts of judicious napping. 

Last night was a rough one. As his agitation grew it dawned on me that while I might be able to get him checked into the right facility but it might become a big battle or even require me to get legal help to keep him there. I woke up already tired this morning and started doing laundry and making an inventory of the food on hand and planning what I’d make for him to eat through the day. I need to get on the phone to make funeral arrangements for my mom and then I need to find and collect bills and get them paid. 

I get that these are events and situations that nearly every child will face one day. Maybe it’s a warm-up, or training, for our own inevitable demise…

How does this relate to photography? Well, the stunning thing I am beginning to understand, now that my time is being swept away by a resilient and relentless tide, is that I must continue to work and be financially productive in order to get my own child through his last year of college, to keep putting money into my retirement accounts and to pay for the lifestyle my wife and I have created. I never realized that what I saw as “tons of unspecified free time” was really tons of flexible time during which I billed, wrote blogs, wrote books, stayed in touch with clients, maintained batteries and gear, practiced the new or hard parts of my craft, and so much more.

I have my first job of the new year booked for Friday the 5th. Pre-catastrophe I’d be planning out how I wanted to actually produce the video shoot and start gathering and testing the equipment. I’d have a plan. I’d have gotten a great night’s sleep and had a healthy breakfast. Now I’m frantic to line up paid caregivers and some of my parent’s younger friends to cover that day for me and then to have my brother come from his job as a school teacher to handle the “night shift.” I’ll be back in the car (instead of in the pool — newly reopened) heading back down to San Antonio to take the reins from my sibling to give him some respite.

I’m hoping this brutal schedule is as temporary as I imagine it might be but I know there will be the frantic phone calls from the senior living facility, the long weekends of digging through a chaotic melange of paper without a roadmap or logical guidance, and then the sheer drudgery of taking over their accounts with my paperwork in hand and being responsible for getting their taxes done, their bills paid, getting my dad to future doctor’s appointments, and so much more. I can’t shake the feeling that my life will never be the same. 

The next job starts on the 10th. And then more jobs follow. The extra stress of not knowing what roadblocks or emergencies will arise and hamper my ability to commit to work schedules drives my anxiety. The “not knowing” if my dad will go willingly into memory care is a fear the size of a grizzly bear hugging my back.

Thankfully, my brother and sister are logical, kind and caring. We are all a united front. We all like each other and we don’t squabble. Thankfully, my wife is amazing and patient and logical and so very supportive. Thankfully, my son is incredibly responsible, helpful and compassionate (especially toward his father—-me). Another area of gratitude is that my parents leveraged their depression era fears of poverty into enough resources to last for any foreseeable needs my father may have. 

My career as a photographer/film maker/blogger/writer? I have to believe that I’ll be back in the saddle by the end of the month. Shouldering some additional obligation but at least able to get back to the work. 


Thanks for your patience and advice. It’s all welcome. Keep it coming; it makes me feel connected...


75 comments:

FasterThanEver said...

Kirk, thanks for that personal post. Your experience is very relevant to all of us as our parents grow old.

Good luck on sorting things out and being able to resume your work life.

Charles David Gryder said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. This is a tough thing to go through (I have), and I’m sure it was hard to sort through your feelings and get them into words to share with all of us.
My deepest sympathy, and thank you for allowing us to, in some small way, share a part of this moment with you.

Dog Photographer said...

Kirk Tuck, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. Such a difficult time that comes on so suddenly. As I am reading this I am aware of how you are so much a part of my life. Everyday I read what you have to say, I feel I know you. It amazes me that through a blog one can get to know someone, to see into there life, this is because you are so open and giving in you expression. Thank You. So hearing of your current difficulty effects me deeply.
I hope the transition with your father goes the best as one can hope. It obviously is a time of difficult transitions.
Funny thing, I woke up this morning in a very strange mood, asking what is it that I really care about, how do I want to live my life from here on out. On top of that pensive mood I read your story, on the last day of the year.
My parents died many many years ago so now I only have to care for myself.
Now I am wishing I were as articulate as you.
Take care of yourself.

rfeg said...

Hi Kirk, I’m sorry for he loss of your mother. Thank you for sharing his hard experience. I’ve been reading your blog for years and some how I “know” you, your values, your hard work, your (much more than average) organized self. I can assure you that if someone can handle it and return to a close to normal life with this increased stress is you. You will keep your bills payed, loving your wife and son (and relatives), and keeping your very good work. All the best, rfeg

Jerry said...

Kirk, I'm imagining you had in the back of your mind that your father would be the first of your parents to go. So on top of the shock of a parent dying, it was your mother that departed first. Double shock, perhaps. I remember my father dying many years ago (younger than either of us are now), and the time it took me to process and grieve. Months. That you have great family, friends, and a scheduled exercise routine (really, really important) will be instrumental in how you cope. At least it was for me. It may be a rough ride coming up, but you've all the tools to handle it like the good man you are.

Wally said...

Sorry to hear the news and grateful for posting the human side affecting you and your marvelous blog. We all have issues come into our lives and while we love the blog the readers are secondary to the issues that are most important to you and your family.

Rick Baumhauer said...

Kirk - first, my deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. I'm fortunate that my parents are still in good health, but my wife and I went through a very similar experience with her parents not quite three years ago.

My mother-in-law had been dealing with worsening dementia for a few years, and my physically-frail father-in-law was her sole caregiver. They lived by themselves in half of a (effectively 4-story - attic, bedrooms, living space, basement) duplex in Reading, PA - about four hours by car for us, with my brother-in-law in the Chicago area at the time, so they had no local family at all. Efforts to get them to move to a more suitable house or assisted living produced only grudging progress.

We made a day trip just after Christmas 2014 to visit them, went out for lunch at the local Asian buffet (where my mother-in-law livened things up by eating all of her wasabi in one go), had a nice visit. Two weeks later, my father-in-law died in his sleep, and we didn't find out until he didn't call on my wife's birthday and we dispatched the Reading PD to check on them. They took my mother-in-law to the emergency room (she was agitated, dehydrated, and disoriented), so we quickly made arrangements with our neighbors to take care of our cats and hit the road around 11pm in order to get to the hospital early the next morning after a brief sleep at a hotel. My brother-in-law arrived by plane later that day, and we spent the week making arrangements for my FIL and trying to find a spot in a memory care facility for my MIL. We got lucky and found an open room in a well-regarded facility in Reading - we thought about moving her closer to us, but it was too high a mountain to climb under time pressure, and after she settled in, we didn't want to disrupt her life again. This was, in all honesty, the most intense, purposeful week of my life.

I'm hoping that your father will adjust to his new surroundings quickly - my MIL did try to leave with us a couple times early on, but was gently dissuaded by staff, and now seems quite content. Then again, she's an institution now, having outlived everyone else who was there when she moved in.

As with your parents, my inlaws had done well enough in the stock market over the years to provide for any eventuality, but you would never have known if you saw how they were living (same generation as your folks, so anything beyond the basics was considered extravagant). They did make the necessary arrangements around advance medical directives and power of attorney, and my wife has responsibility for paying all of the bills out of my MIL's accounts and coordinating whatever medical care is needed.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

Jim said...

Hang in there Kirk. Tough times do pass even though it seems at the time to be unending.

Mike Rosiak said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, and the ongoing stress of handling the things you need to do.

May 2018 see you having handled it well, and continuing the life you have so successfully made for yourself and your family.

Anonymous said...

I've come along here and read your thoughts for many years now. I'm so sorry for your loss. I've not had to deal with my parents yet, but had some really tough times as a carer around a decade ago. All I learned from that was to try to focus on the current problems and not think too far ahead, do what you can and recognise when it makes sense to get professional help in to support you.

Take care of yourselves, my thoughts are with you.
Mark

amolitor said...

Best wishes, Kirk, and good luck. This isn't going to be an easy time. You have my sympathy for your losses and your upcoming travails.

Be pretty ruthless about hiring help. My own father died (of? with?) dementia. In his last year or two he was cared for by professionals, in facilities. It was easier for him as well as for us.

They're better positioned to manage medications, emotional outbursts, and so on. The additional ease of being surrounded by family was largely an illusion, he didn't really know us. The biggest down side that I saw was that he was substantially more sedated. Which means, of course, that he was a lot calmer and in that sense happier, but also was kind of missing out of whatever he might have otherwise experienced.

Since he was a hard headed fellow, I AM certain that his only criticism would be that his wife didn't warehouse him in a facility earlier.

Yoram Nevo said...

Wanted to share my sympathy.
If you have supporting family and friends, and your parents have enough savings , then you can reassure yourself that all will be well.
Just let events happen and do what is needed , and you will see that things will fall into their right place.
This situations teach us how to receive help and not only give help as we are used to.
You will find that you will get help from many unexpected sources.
Best wishes,
Yoram.



hjwulff said...

Just to let you know that there are many people who read your blog that empathize with you. My dad died when I was 16; my mother got MS when she was 50, and we all thought that my stepfather, who was a very kind and lovely man, would be able to care for her until the end. Then he got cancer and I had to deal with my mother to the extent that she couldn't. She was completely clear headed until the end, but MS is not kind.

Dementia is particularly hard to deal with, I think, as the person inside the body you know changes and slips away. To have lost your mother, especially at this time of year makes everything even more difficult and confusing.

I wish you all the strength, compassion and patience that you will need in the coming time. If you only blog once a week, once a month or whatever, I'll still wait for it, but this is clearly the least important job you have to deal with now.

I wish you as peaceful and stress free a New Year as possible, and it will get better especially with what sounds like a caring wider family.

Henning

James Weekes said...

Hi Kirk,

I, too, am sorry for your loss. There is never a good time to lose a parent.

I live in Florida where AL and Memory Care facilities abound. The staffs at the good places are angels. They are so used to handling what is new and exhausting to you and your siblings that you might not see your worst fears come true. Probably will not actually.

You have a wonderful group of friends (and clients) from what I can see and your nuclear family are lovely caring people. So you are well supported while you supply support.

My thoughts are with you.

mikepeters said...

Kirk,

My deepest condolences on the loss of your Mom. Losing a parent is something that we can never be prepared for. The span of emotions that i felt at the time were surprising and wrenching at the same time.

I wish you all the best with your Dad. I can't imagine what you're going through. I wish I lived closer to lend a hand. I hope you can find some peace over the next few weeks and months.

You'll be in my thoughts.
Mike

Gato said...


So sorry to hear of your loss, possibly even harder to bear at this time of year.

I took early retirement to help my sister take care of our mother. Taking care of Mom was the toughest thing I've ever done, and early retirement has left me short on resources for my own old age. But not being able to help out would have been even tougher.

The last straw for us was one night Mom was not answering the phone. When we got to her apartment she had her clothes packed in garbage bags and out on the front porch. She was going someplace, she couldn't explain where, but she had made up her mind to go.

Our mother turned out to be happy in a home. Outside she had become a complete recluse, but once we got her installed she turned into the life of the party. Her dementia improved considerably and she had a couple of pretty good years, then at the end went fairly quickly. I hope things can go as well for you and your father.

Anonymous said...

Kirk,

condolences on the loss of your mother. Things don't often turn out the way we envision them. We think we have the future mapped out, and then the Category 5 hits. Lost both my parents over 20 years ago, my mother after suffering (and I mean that word) for ALS for almost 10 years, my father a year later from a stroke. Somehow you don't think of your parents as being that vulnerable, after all they did in raising you. As you say, it changes things "forever".

We do the best we can, and I hope you will be able to accept that and not spend time second-guessing things. Not a great way to end the year, but moving forward is a tribute to our parents and a legacy to our own children.

Wishing you and your family a better 2018,

Rick

John W said...

Dear Mr.T - Unfortunately we are of the age when we begin to lose people - friends, relatives, people we admire .... I'm a few years ahead of you so I've been down this road. If they are people you care about, there is no free pass and no amount of preparation that will abate the loss ... It just hurts. Having the support of caring friends and family is all important at times like this. Know that here you have lots of friends and all the moral support we can offer.

My Heart Goes Out To You and Your Family.

Peter Wright said...

Kirk, So sorry to hear about your loss. I can relate. I am about seven years older than you and in 2004 my father suddenly died leaving my mother who was in the mid stages of dementia and living at home with him on her own. As I was the only child and my parents lived in Scotland (I'm in Canada), I took a year leave of absence from work to sort things out. The local government social work department was truly great and helped me enormously – calling me in Canada if necessary to keep me updated or get decisions. I made many trips to Scotland that year. I finally got my mother into an assisted living facility, but after she had a stroke and deteriorated further, I moved her to a nursing home where she died in early 2008.

I have no advice except to say that It won't last forever, and we have to simply go through it with compassion and what support we can muster. (Sometimes the origin and quality of the support can surprise us.) It helps to think of such experiences as the gift to us of being able to return some of the care that was lovingly given to ourselves so long ago.

Remember to cut yourself some slack.
Peter Wright

Dave said...

Rough week Kirk, and I'm sorry for your loss. My hope is that your family remains united, as these occasions can break down bonds between loved ones. Here's to hoping the new year kicks off better than the old one ended.

David Lobato said...

Kirk, I feel for you. On Dec 12th I lost my Dad. My mother is nearly ready for assisted care living, and she is slowly losing her memory and mental abilities. I am also saddled with their legal matters and the upcoming sale of the family house in Denver. Yeah, it's overwhelming. Both in time, energy and emotions. Hang in there. I wish you strength and persistence.

David

Anonymous said...

Kirk, my deepest sympathy for your loss.

Remember to take care of yourself. If you don't do that, you won't be able to care for the loved ones in your life.

Warmest regards,
Lynn
Sydney

Anonymous said...

Kirk, My heartfelt condolences to you and yours, it’s never an easy event to go through just remember Mom will always be in your memories and heart.

Wylie Shaw

MB.Kinsman said...

Kirk,
Sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this trying time. I went through this with Mom last year at this time. It started the day before Thanksgiving. We spent Thanksgiving in the hospital with her, followed by her being transferred to a nursing home for a few weeks before being sent home with hospice care 2 days before Christmas Eve. Fortunately, all my kids were in town and had a chance to say their goodbyes. Mom passed at 11:05am on December 30th, 2016.
This past year has been a whirlwind - sorting out a 92 years olds lifetime of stuff, preparing the house for sale, etc. She had an aggressive form of Alzheimer's and went from minor to major dementia in a matter of months, so I can relate to the challenge your face with your father. One thing that helped , was me documenting that short time near the end with my camera, knowing it was matter of time before she would by in assisted living or dying wishing months. She not feel like too, got her wish to die at home. Dementia is a challenge as you stated - focus on the good moments, try to ignore the bad ones. You will get through it,even though it may not feel like it at times.

HR said...

Both of my parents have already passed on so my family no longer has these issues to deal with. I wish the best for you in the coming trials. I post the following as a way to maybe buck you up a bit and help you know that you are doing a very good thing. Some people don't have anyone to help them as they become very old and approach the end. Best wishes for 2018!

This is an amazingly excellent, very moving article written by Japanese journalist Norimitsu Onishi. Highly recommended. He clearly spent lots of time with the people he writes about and interviews. Many older people in Japan, America, Canada, Europe, Australia, etc. are experiencing exactly the same thing.

A Generation in Japan Faces a Lonely Death

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/world/asia/japan-lonely-deaths-the-end.html

Eric Rose said...

Kirk, Erna and I share your grief. Our prayers are with you and your family in this painful and turbulent period in uour lives.

I have lost both my parents so have an idea of what you are going through. Don't hesitate to call on friends to step in and help. They will be more than happy too but might not understand what you need. This goes for both professional and personal things.

Your friends, Eric and Erna

Michael Meissner said...

Man, what a trip.

I don't have any advice, just sympathy.

Both my mother and her sister died of one of the memory robbing diseases. My father took care of my mom for most of the time until the end. My uncle took care of my aunt, until the time she no longer recognized him, and had to be put in a memory unit. No matter which way you go, it is painful watching your loved ones retreat further and further into a shell.

My father just made the painful decision to sell the home he and my mom had lived in, and move to an apartment in a retirement center while he is still in good shape. Since they moved states after I moved to the east coast, it was never a family home to me. I and my two sisters sorted through the stuff in the house that isn't going to the apartment to see what we wanted, and what can be sold or given away. It is sad that books and things that were meaningful to us some 50 years ago, no longer are meaningful, and a lot more things were not taken.

It does sound like you are blessed with good siblings, wife, and son. A lot of families aren't so blessed.

And only post on the blog when you have time. I suspect you probably will not have much time in the next few weeks.

tnargs said...

I remember hearing about how, only a couple of hundred years ago, the average 16-year-old had already experienced 8 deaths in the family.

Ken said...

Kirk, so sorry to hear of the situation you find yourself in. I'm essentially your age and have gone through an eerily similar situation with my parents within the last three years, first with my Mom dying from COPD and then my Dad settling into a minor state of dementia. I am now without both of them. My heart goes out to you.

texascbx said...

I'm sorry about your mother.

Wolfgang Lonien said...

So sorry about your loss Kirk. Still all the best for 2018.

Rufus said...

Kirk

I offer sympathy and, indeed, empathy from the UK.

My 83-year-old mother is a widow and in assisted living. Fortunately, dementia has not afflicted her.

These tough times are it seems an inevitable function of our own survival - living to see the decline and eventual demise of those we love.

For what it is worth, I can only comment that with loss, also comes ( in time ) an enhanced appreciation of what we have around us and the people we care about in our relationships. Joy in work and in the relationships that surround us every day become paramount and a source of happiness. These events change everything and, in my case, I simply ceased doing the things that either were not necessary or caused tension. Life is short and there are better things to do.

Best wishes to you.

Bruce Bodine said...

My condolences Kirk on the passing of your Mother and like many others and yourself the same passing of life took place with my Dad three years ago. Mom is now in assisted living and will be 95 this year. You have a supportive family and loving wife as do I. They are the key to getting through this difficult time. Take time for yourself when you can, you will fare better if you do. Hope to get down to Austin some day to share a cup of coffee when times are better.

Kind Regards,
Bruce Bodine

Keith Douglas said...

Kirk,

I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother, and all the other burdens you're carrying. Thankfully you have a supportive family.

Don Parsons said...

So sorry for your loss Kirk.

Don't ever feel you're fighting this alone, you have quite a few friends here you can reach out to in time of need.

All my best to you and your family.

Don

Chris Beloin said...

So Sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. As a caregiver to your dad she had quite a bit to manage even in her older years. They seem like wonderful people and their generation was the backbone of America.

You mentioned getting paperwork in order - be sure to do the same with your son. As a financial advisor I recently encountered a family where the college graduate son was involved in a serious accident and they did not not have Power of Attorney (POA) for finance or health in place for their son. It was, and still is, a nightmare for them to do even basic things for their son who was in a coma for a while.

We will keep you in our prayers.

Geof Margo said...

I am one of many, many readers who appreciate the generosity with which you share your expertise and your experience, both professional and personal. Thank you for all you give, and we give to you and your family our support, concern and caring in your time of loss and struggle. Best wishes through this hard time.

bluearth said...

Strange that this is the first time I visited here, and your post is all about an incredibly tough situation with your parents. You have many great replies here, and good advice. I'll try to be brief.
My mother died Christmas day (years ago) after insisting she be at home with her family for Christmas, though she was riddled with cancer and required round the clock care - we did that.
That experience prompted me to enter social work, and this year I retired from a job working with families in your situation, i.e. dealing with the complexities of navigating care for elders, mostly those with dementia.
So I really hear you. Your own work can be a refuge, but also almost impossible to juggle with everything else. There IS an organization that offers professional help, and I'd strongly recommend you look into it.
A professional who's been there, done that (doctor's visits, difficulty settling in to MC, etc.) can be a lifesaver now. You can use their services as much or as little as you need. Look at Aging Life Care for the care managers (masters degree or higher) in your area, call them, find out how they can help and maybe have them meet your dad.
Take a few minutes for yourself to think about your mom and your grief - don't push it aside even though you're crazy busy.
Best of luck to you! And now I'll read about lenses and such!
https://www.aginglifecare.org/ALCA/About_Aging_Life_Care/Find_an_Aging_Life_Care_Expert/ALCA/About_Aging_Life_Care/Search/Find_an_Expert.aspx

Eric said...

So sad about the loss of your mother, Kirk. As for your father's condition, I'm just a few years younger than you, and both my wife and I have gone through (and are still going through) similar situations on both sides of our family -- you have our full sympathy. Dealing with the legal and medical issues in a compassionate and yet effective way is one heck of a challenge, it's good to hear you've got such a supportive extended family.

I wouldn't worry too much about the blog, you've got bigger fish to fry in the near term.

Steven Lawrence said...

You are doing a great job Mr Tuck. Thank you for giving me a moment this morning to reflect on what family means and how I can be better in 2018 in regards to my family.

Bill Pierce said...

I wish there was some magic consolation and wisdom that any of us could pass on. Instead you use your pain to teach us. I hope that pain lessens as quickly as possible and the good memories remain.

Craig Yuill said...

My sympathies go out to you and your family.

Joe Reed said...

I am very sorry for your loss. A few years ago I walked along the same path you are now taking. It's not easy but you can and will find the resolve to work through this difficult time. You are so fortunate to have the love and support of family members and friends to help you. You and your family are in my thoughts.

Hal Knowles said...

Kirk, my deepest sympathies for your loss and for the familial challenges of caring for a parent with dementia. Thank you for so openly and compassionately sharing your professional and personal life lessons with your lovely community of readers. In my own times of mourning, I've often found solace in these words...

Nothing Gold Can Stay (Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963)

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Craig said...

I'm young enough to have seen (and lived through) my grandparents' generation go through this, and old enough that my parents are maybe a decade away from this starting to happen (hopefully longer). My father, at 74, lost his license a couple years back due to macular degeneration - and is entirely dependent on others for transportation.

I suspect how we handle aging and elder care is going to become a very pressing issue in the near future.

I'm glad you have a supportive and loving family, and am wishing you all the best for 2018. I rarely comment, but am an avid reader of the blog. Have been appreciating your insights, stories and musings for years.

Take care.

Patrick Dodds said...

Condolences Kirk. No advice, no predictions, just warm wishes to you and yours at this difficult time.

John Harvey said...

You are a good son.

atmtx said...

Kirk, I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. Please let me know how I can help.

Karen Casebeer said...

Kirk...So sorry to hear about your mom's passing. Not an easy loss to negotiate. I wish you and your family good luck in figuring out your father's next step. It's all hard stuff to deal with. I hope writing your blog is therapeutic and helps you get through this difficult time. Wishing you well. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Karen Casebeer

Noons said...

Oh dear! Thanks for sharing. Take as long as needed, mr T. I lost mum 10 years ago and dad went in 2004. They both stay alive in my mind and follow me everywhere. Hope it all pans out well for you and you can enjoy the remaining time with your dad.

Carlo Santin said...

Very sorry for your loss Kirk. I lost my father almost three years ago to cancer. It was a difficult experience watching him slowly succumb to that terrible disease and it changed me in many ways. I don't have any specific advice for you. Getting old sucks and life is so short. I hope your father's remaining time is peaceful. Try to take care of yourself and your family Kirk, nothing is really that important because we all go in the end. God bless.

Stephen Emmons said...

Kirk,
I am saddened to read about your loss. It's good to know you have a strong and supportive family.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Kirk. My thoughts are with you. This is as tough as it gets. We went through this with Dad last year and I can say that being a caregiver for a dementia patient is really difficult. It's good you have help. He won't want to go into a home, but after he's been in there for a week or so he will accept it, so don't worry. Do your best; that's all you can really do. - Dale

Anonymous said...

Kirk,
my sympathies go out to you and your family. It is always tough to lose a parent. My advice is to take it one day at a time both in the care of your father and your business. Things will work out in the end if you keep chipping away at it. Accept the help of friends and family and don’t try to do it alone and blow off the blog if you have to. Your time just became exponentiation more valuable.
Best of luck.
FrankB

Anonymous said...

Condolences on the passing of your mother. I hope you weather your current challenges well. Our commitments to our parents and our children are what define us. Thank you for the lucid blog post.

Kevin Mayo said...

Kirk, There are no words that will help so I send hugs and prayers to your family.
Kevin

Mike said...

So sorry to hear of your loss and associated problems. You have your priorities right - take as long as you need away from the blog to sort things out, you will be in our thoughts.

omphoto said...

Kirk, my condolences to you and your family. The natural order of life is what we all learn to accept at some point and it is fortunate you have family members to help. It was a difficult time for me when my parents passed within 3 years of each other from cancer. I have a grown daughter now and a wife, who has a full time job and was the bedrock for helping get through a rough time, spending time with them when I had my freelance jobs to manage. She also had her cancer to battle and beat. My four brothers all lived in different states and the burden fell to us. We found a woman after several attempts, that my father trusted, and she was a gift from heaven till the hospice phase arrived for him. I will say that my focus was on caring for them and the work seemed secondary in importance but necessary to our financial stability. You've been a great provider along with Belinda for Ben's future, but it is not a failure if loans for college are what is needed to get Ben through school. As others have said, you will get through it. Your compassionate caring and love will carry the day, and yes, in the end it really is all about family and friends.

George Janik said...

Kirk, my condolences to you and your family. I went through similar experiences over the last few years. Hopefully...things will work out with your father.
Time and past memories, both good and bad will see you through. It doesn't get better but life continues on.

Michael MANPhotography said...

Kind wishes to you for your candid story and to your family for being there. Warm and brave you are.

Henk said...

Kirk,
I am very sorry for the loss of your mother. These are sad times. We had a similar situation with my wife's parents years ago.
Her mother had heart surgery when her father had Alzheimer's disease. He was then taken into a nursing home where he died after three months. Now my MIL is in a nursing home for two years after we cared for her for one- and a half year. She suffers from Alzheimer's disease too.
I feel your pain. My condolences to you and your family. Take care.

Henk

Larry Cordeiro said...

Not much more to add, but my personal condolences.

Hope things get sorted for a place for your dad. We just went through similar situation finding a place for my wife's mother in Fort Worth. If you haven't already, I would recommend contacting an organization called; "A Place for Mom" (even though in this case it's Dad. Very helpful.

Kind Regards,

Larry

ODL Designs said...

Evening Kirk
I am very sorry for your loss, it is one of life's moments to lose a parent, I hope everything works out for your father and family.

Keep well, if you need any help let me know.

Paul Gero said...

So very sorry for your loss Kirk. Sending healing thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Kt,
I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. To you and your family my hope all is worked out for the best during this most trying time. I just read this and I think it applies
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"
Jb

Peter Knott said...

Kirk, Your generosity in giving both your time and knowledge over the years has created an extended family of people throughout this world who offer their sincerest condolences, I am but one of that gathering.

Jim Rogers said...

So sorry. I went through this a few years ago. Hope, guilt, recriminations, etc, etc. Best wishes.

Nick Davis said...

All the best, Kirk, at this difficult time. It's a rite of passage when your parents die.

Iain Davies said...

Sorry to hear that. I lost my mum a few years ago and I'm now dealing my 86yo dad who has had a couple of falls over Christmas and seems to have lost strength and confidence. Keep strong.

Anthony Bridges said...

Deepest condolences to you and your family Kirk. I hope that things turn out the best they can with your father.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I am the grandpa here. Trying to untangle a few things while I still can in order to facilitate life for others later on. You motivated me. Thanks.

Terrence Chambers said...

Please accept my condolences.

Wataru Maruyama said...

Kirk, thank you for sharing this and my best thoughts and wishes go out to you and your family.

Rick said...

Oh Kirk,

I'm so very sorry for the sudden, tragic loss of your mother, please accept my sincere condolences. I wish you and your family the best in giving care and support for your father--you are blessed in having everybody willing and ready rally around him and give the best care you possibly can.

Like many I've been down a similar path and know a bit of the toll it takes. It's overwhelming at times but know you have family, friends and even we internet "friends" pulling for you.

Kindest regards,

Rick

Dave said...

I'm so sorry for your losses Kirk. I hope you find peace in the storm.

Dave

Post a Comment

Comments. If you disagree do so civilly. Be nice or see your comments fly into the void. Anonymous posters are not given special privileges or dispensation. If technology alone requires you to be anonymous your comments will likely pass through moderation if you "sign" them. A new note: Don't tell me how to write or how to blog!