Cheryl Carmichael is the author of Dare to Care: Caring for Our Elders. She began her career in aging with the Area Agency on Aging, in Phoenix, Arizona. Cheryl earned an AAS in Gerontology in 2002. She worships and serves at Foothills Christian Church in Phoenix.
Cheryl’s father, Bill, is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
What are you waiting for?
After my parents’ divorce, I was raised by my mother. I was 14, and she harbored much anger towards my dad. We moved from Wyoming to Colorado. During my high school years, I only saw my dad on very short occasions, when he would drive down to see me for a weekend. Then I moved to California. During the next seven years, I saw him only three times. We went to Colorado every other Christmas – and again he drove down to spend a few days with me and my 2 boys.
Daddy and his new wife, Liz, drove to Los Angeles in June of 1981, to attend my graduation from College. After that, I moved back to Colorado and we spent much more time together as my boys grew up. We had many great times together.
I find I carry many traits of my dad – the love of the outdoors, playing cards, golfing. Most meaningful to me is the faith that we share in God. We’ve often shared in prayer, “…asking God to direct our activities throughout this day and to thank you for the many blessings you provide us with… and we thank you God, most of all for your Son- Christ Jesus… who gives us hope to live forever…”
Liz and I have been waiting for years, wishing for the chance to cruise together to see Hawaii. This year, we finally made this dream a reality. It is nearly Christmas, 2012, and we have just returned from the trip of a lifetime.
In Hawaii, Liz and I walked in the ocean, leaving Daddy sitting in his wheelchair watching us from the edge of the grass & sand. We also shopped, visited over meals, played games, sat in the hot tub, and watched the shows. Other times I would sit with Daddy and reminisce about my boys. We remembered times spent on Dad’s farm, trips that involved snow skiing, golf, and car shows. Many, many times he pulled out a picture of a young girl and boy from his wallet – repeating each time – I have carried this with me all your life.
On the last day of the cruise – I told Daddy he looked nice in his new Hawaiian shirt. And he said – we should go there some time…
In this season of Advent, I am grateful to know the value of waiting. In restored relationship—and even in the trip of a lifetime—God has shown me that joy comes in the morning, and that hope can be found in the meantime. And now, like many who care for aging parents, I wait for those glimpses of the father I know and love. I am hopeful for advances in treatment and care; but I also know that the coming child will “give us hope to live forever.”