Two Fathers, together

One bit of trivia you might not know about me…. way back in 1989, I brought my dad along on my first date with the man who not too long after that became my husband.   Another Father became involved in my relationship with Dixon, too.

Father John Young had been an important part of our family life since I was not much older than George.  He heard my first confession, was there when I was confirmed, and, after thorough and often really quite hilarious pre-marriage counseling,  joined Dixon and me in the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Dixon and I didn’t get to have a honeymoon right after our wedding.  It was delayed a few months, and we spent it staying in Father John’s rectory.  Really.  Not too many years after that, he started baptizing our babies…. Emily at his church, Sam at ours, and then when we got to Brian, we decided to go one step further and ask him to be his Godfather.

I’m still in Michigan with my parents, so today we drove to South Haven to see Father John.  Just spending time with him was definitely on my must-do list for this amazing vacation…. although it was the part that I most wished Dixon and the kids were here for.  Father John has Alzheimers disease, and it’s really so very sad.  He is no longer driving, but he still says Mass, although with some help.  There’s a new pastor at his church, but Father John continues to be very involved.  It was really sad several times when he talked about doing some things for the last time, or couldn’t  at first remember a trip to Rome and Malta he and my dad took together….  and he is having a terrible time figuring out his cell phone.

Then I looked at his cell phone.  It is the tiniest, least intuituve cell phone I have ever seen.   Terrible.  I so hope that he believed us, and will remember, when we were telling him that his struggles were due to the phone, not his dementia.  His birthday is April 29, he turns 80.  I told him that if ANYBODY asks him what he wants for his birthday, tell them “I need a new cell phone!”  I hope he remembers.

I’ve had the best vacation this week.  True rest and enough time with my parents to really talk.  My mom and I sewed, and sewed, and sewed… that deserves its own post.  My dad spent his week trying to find ways to make my life easier and to figure out how he could personally remove any burdens that he could take on.

…. lots of little things to make my life easier.  Why was I going up and down the stairs, he asked?  To change off the socks drying on my sock blockers.  Within an hour, he had a solution, he made me three new sets of sock blockers out of a worn out rotary cutting mat, so that I could dry all the socks at once and not have to go up and down the stairs.

See?  Look up at the very top and you can tell what they’re made of.  These socks are the latest up for auction, by the way.

And speaking of auctions.  I was sewing with my mom last night and mentioned to my dad that when we were done, I needed to package a few ebay wins for some wonderful friends who are, honestly, overwhelming me and the Archer family with their generosity.  He said he would be happy to package, label, ship, etc, himself.  He would love to take any burden possible from me.  But this one I wanted to do, it was important to me.  So I came down to the kitchen after he’d gone to sleep and found this:

He’d set up the ultimate art wrapping and packaging center ever, so that i had to look for nothing, so that I didn’t have to walk down more steps to the basement.  Even tissue and ribbons and markers… just in case.

So there are five parcels leaving Kalamazoo tomorrow morning.  I had the same regret as last time…. but I knew that if I waited to send everything until I had written a proper thank you letter, they’d never get to their destination.

I am on my way back to Charlotte this afternoon.  I have missed my husband and my babies.  Speaking of fathers, Dixon has done an amazing job.  I’m sure he’s exhausted, but when he recovers,  I think I need to come back here soon.  Two fathers here are too valuable to me to stay away from for so long.


14 thoughts on “Two Fathers, together

  1. Your parents are amazing, I wish I had parents like that. I am happy you could spend time with them and father John.
    It would be helpful if you remind us when the eBay auctions are close to ending:). Sometimes time slips by. You look beautiful.

  2. Oh, what a wonderful account of your visit with Father John. And wonderful for me to get to spend some time with you. Hope you’ll be back soon. I am the very proud and thankful owner of a new pair of Elizabeth’s beautiful socks.

  3. What a beautiful week, thank you for sharing it made me miss my dad So glad you were well taken care of. My dad has Alzheimer’s. In the early stages we were able to make life less confusing. Here is a phone that might be perfect for Fr John. I hate to put in a link as you don’t know me, but you can google just5 and see the phone or pass on the info. Praying for you and your family.

  4. Oh, dear Elizabeth. I am in tears also. What a HUGE BLESSING from God to have been given Fr. John throughout your life. (And, hey girlfriend, I also brought a priest on my first date with my to-be husband! I have NEVER met anyone else who did such a thing!!!) And what a dear your daddy is. I cried and cried to see the wrapping station he set up for you. Taking care of his girlie always.

  5. Elizabeth,

    What wonderful photos of the two fathers in your life and such a beautiful story to go with them. I heard that you and your mom were doing a lot of sewing this week. I’m pretty sure she enjoyed that part of the visit even more than you did! Your parents are very special people, indeed!


  6. Dear Elizabeth, How fortunate you are to have those two particular fathers in your life! They. along with your mom. are treasures. I walked the Alzheimers journey with my mom. It was both a blessing and a curse; a blessing when she saw me and she smiled that beautiful and gentle smile; a curse when she no longer knew my name or that I was her daughter. She did, however, intuitively alwayus know that I loved her. I guess that is what counts.

    Your mom is going to forward you some info that I forwarded her about the prof at McGill. He is a lovely, gentle, talented man whom I miss having around here. His email info will be in the message, and you and/or Emily are free to email him at any time.

    I’m so glad that you were able to accomplish so much while you were here. Your mom is going to be kept busy with those sewing projects.

    Peace and prayers, Nancy

  7. What a beautiful post of two loving fathers. Your dad sounds like a wonderful and caring man. I’m glad you were able to get home for a vacation! Alzheimer’s is such a sad journey to walk, I remember my grandfather as he struggled.

    Continued prayers to you and your family

  8. Loved this post. What a blessing to be with your parents. Wish we could have come to see you! Maybe next time! Looking forward to your sewing post.

  9. thank you for sharing this part of you with us, elizabeth. while fr. john was a blessing to you and your family, i know that you have been a blessing to him as well.

    love, love, love to you. hope to see you again soon.

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