Real Men Stay
I should be dead, but I’m not.
I should be a forty something-year-old in a nursing home, but I’m not.
I should be miserable, but I’m not.
The reason for each of these statements can be summed up with one word: love.
I have been loved into being by God, and the love of my family, along with my own love for life, have kept me living here on God’s lovingly created Earth well beyond the medically predicted years, full of wonder, thanksgiving, and joy. Because of my parents’ great ability to love, they willingly give of themselves in order to take care of me in our house, allowing me to live the best that I can live.
My mother made great sacrifices for most of my life as my main caregiver, even though her own body wasn’t in the best of shape, to say the least. As she has aged, she has become much weaker in physical strength. So now my father, who always had the night duties, has become the one to do my chest percussion therapy (to improve respiratory function) and to lift me for transfers from wheelchair to bed, bed to wheelchair. In the beginning, when I was young, people told my mother that she shouldn’t let my father take care of me too much. “You don’t want him to leave,” they would say.
Isn’t that interesting?
“Men leave.” Why? I can’t answer that question, because I don’t know that kind of a man. The man that I know, my father, wouldn’t leave. Won’t leave. Because he loves. Because he gives. And, yes, perhaps because he is healthy enough to be affected by guilt. He has a healthy conscience and so it remains a good conscience, a clean conscience. He has done right as a father. He is continuing to do right as my dad, even after all of these years, even after open-heart surgery and a total hip replacement. God bless my dad.
I wish that I didn’t have to be cared for by my parents, mostly for my parents’ sake, but for mine too, of course. Home Health Aides have been helping to shoulder some of the burden, and their presence in our lives has increased lately. I wonder what it would be like if nonfamily members always came in to do my care and all I did was cohabitate with my mother and father in our home. Sounds kind of weird to me. I’m so used to them being my caregivers, I don’t know what it would be like for them to simply be mom and dad to me, a grown woman.
I feel like I will forever be their child, and yes, I understand the sadness, the difficulty, the tedious burden of that, but there is also something…so incredibly beautiful…noble even, maybe holy. They are keepers of a sacred trust. That trust is love. It’s like they have been asked, “Will you love your child forever, not only as your offspring, your daughter for whom you have affection, but as a little human being in need of constant care, in need of your lifelong sacrifice?” And they have answered yes. My mother didn’t leave. My father didn’t leave. And I’m grateful to God that He has allowed me to have them in my life, not only as parents and caregivers, but as amazingly beautiful people who keep the sacred trust of love.
As Father’s Day approaches, I express to the world (well, at least to you, my dear reader) that I am undyingly grateful for my dad. Daddy, I love you. May you enjoy your newly gained free time and remember that I wouldn’t be here without you and Mama. And it is good to be here.
© 2019 Christina Chase
PS. I made a video for my dad that you can watch on my YouTube channel. It shows what I’m willing to do, how I’m even willing to make a fool out of myself in public — for love.
Christina Chase View All
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.
Truly beautiful. That’s what you are. That’s what your dad is. That’s what your mom is. And that is most definitely what love looks like. This made me cry my eyes out, so thanks a lot Christina. LOL I really hate to cry but rhis was worth it.
Hey, if you need a good cry, or an ugly cry, or a good and ugly cry, then I’m your girl! 😀 Love, beauty, and peace to you, Jacqui,
Such a beautiful story of love. You have such a wonderful attitude. Thanks for sharing your incredible journey of life and appreciation of your parents. Keep dwelling on the positive gifts God has given you. You are a truly inspiring women.
Thank you, Fran! I was struck by what you wrote, “Keep dwelling on the positive gifts God has given you” and I started to reflect on it. We all dwell within the gift God has given us: life created in His love. Real blessings come from recognizing and receiving that gift, which my parents have always helped me to do through the example of their love, even when I didn’t know it. May we all help one another. Thank you for reflecting with me!
Dear Cousin: Once again you help me appreciate the beauty of life and the love of God and Faithfullness of parenthood. But most of all you give me courage when I am down to stand up and face a sometimes crazy world. You rock! You reinforce my faith in life and God. Thank you. Patty Ann
On Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 9:56 PM Divine. Incarnate. wrote:
> Christina Chase posted: “I should be dead, but I’m not. I should be a > forty something-year-old in a nursing home, but I’m not. I should be > miserable, but I’m not. Why? The reason for each of these statements can be > summed up with one word: love. I have been loved into being ” >
You are the best third-cousin I have ever had! LOL YOU rock, Patty Ann, with your encouragement of little me through your sharing. Yes, my parents are great models of parenthood, as I am sure you are in all of the big and little ways. I plan on writing a little piece on another great act of parenting from within our Ellis family soon.
Dan the Man. Your Dan, a model
for us–we who haven’t practiced
enough to play in the big leagues,
but, like kids, can aspire, or dream.
In my dream, Dan is now batting
clean-up on a major league team.
He has taken the place of a hero
From my childhood, Stan Musiel
of the St. Louis baseball Cardinals.
They called him Stan the Man. We
all did. Now there’s a statue of him
where people can come together
With friends before a big game.
Instead of a statue of Dan
I’ve got an idea for an icon,
But it will have to wait a while
As I learn how to pray better.
Icons work best with prayers.
Here’s one from me now, a thanks-
giving for Dan: Husband, Father, Man.
I read your post:
Way to make me teary! I’m going to show this to the Man on Father’s Day, better than any card I could ever give — thank you. I love the poetry of your soul, Al. How can you feel so close when you are so far away? I guess we both have an inkling to the answer for that, but there aren’t enough words to say.
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I especially love this email and happy Father’s Day to your dad and love to your mom and dad and family
Sent from my iPhone
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I know a great many fine men, but Dan stands out. The generosity of spirit, good humor and bottomless love that he shows to Christina are also what the rest of us see. His is a precious witness and it’s made me a better man. God bless you, Christina and Dan.
I’m glad, heart and soul, that others also see the man that my father is! Thank you for reflecting with me, blessings to you,