A few days ago I visited with my father in Alabama. His name is Ed and he now lives in a nursing home. He has Alzheimer’s disease.
Since I live in Wisconsin, my visits with him are few and they are treasured. He doesn’t know who I am but I’ve decided that this is only important to me anyway. He just knows that I am a smiling face. I know him and I hug him and say nice things to him. He smiles at me and tells me he is glad I came to see him. That’s enough for me.
He lives in the present tense. His sadness doesn’t last long because he forgets what it was that made him sad. On the other hand, when he’s happy, it’s a wonderful state of mind. You see, unlike most of us who let our happiness get crowded out by dread and worry about some potential negative future event, he doesn’t do that. He lives in the moment. His brain only addresses what is before his eyes at the moment. He doesn’t dread the future, he doesn’t brood over the past. He lives in the now.
But this style of thinking didn’t begin with his Alzheimer’s. He has always had a knack for living in the moment. His favorite sayings were, “you can’t cry over spilled milk” or “let by-gones be by-gones”. At other times, he’d drawl, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” and “never put off til tomorrow what you can do today”.
While these expressions did not originate from Ed Cleveland, they did resonate from him. He demonstrated them over and over again.
At this time of Thanksgiving I thank dad for giving me a perspective that makes life a little more manageable.
And for the moment, that’s enough.