Seldom are we privileged to assist in the final love journey between our parents. Till Death Do Us Part shares the tender relationship between two 89 year olds reconnected following near death experiences. After 67 years of marriage, COVID created an untenable situation for mine. Mom was recovering from a recent stroke and was discharged to live independently. Dad suffered from congestive heart failure and was newly placed on hospice within the same facility. When lockdowns eliminated our participation in their care and illuminated systemic failures, we moved them to our home in Azle, TX.
Although I had been in regular and increasingly significant contact with our parents throughout our lives, nothing could have prepared me for the transformation that I was to witness, not only in their health and mental state, but also their relationship with each other and my relationship with them. I was given the opportunity to capture moments between them I had never seen. Newly reunited, they cherished the opportunity to be physically close to each other. Never before had I witnessed such profound intimacy.
In our culture, aging parents typically move from living independent lives to what could become a series of transitions through assisted living, skilled nursing and potentially hospice care. It is increasingly rare that families decide to bring their parents into their homes. Only because of the limitations imposed due to Covid, my choice was laid bare; either face the likelihood my dad would die alone, separated from mom or provide care for both of them in my home.
This is a story of one families' struggle and recovery, love and finally death. It was a choice to do more than to accept the conditions that we were dealt.