Til death do us part

“When’s the wedding?”

asks Dad.

“Not this summer but next,”

I reply.

“You’ll have to roll me to the church in my coffin,”

he says.


On December 24th, after more than six years together, Lynn, who lives in Vancouver with his children, proposed and I said yes.

With a new ring on my finger, priorities have become more complex as up until now daughter had usurped girlfriend. Wife is a different story.

When I first moved to care for Dad, he was 80 and not expecting to make it past 81. At 83, the happy old bugger is still threatening to die at a moment’s notice, but I understand now that he could be here throwing out witty comebacks for a whole other decade.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have him, but not at the expense of my own life. Our arrangement as his daily caregiver is no longer sustainable. It was an opportunity I feel grateful to have had but it is time to create an alternate care system that keeps Dad aging in place for as long I can.

It is time I graduate to supervising manager of my one-man nursing home; a project that requires lists of daily, weekly, monthly tasks set to calendars and checklists. It also requires staff we can’t afford so I find help in my community, offering what I have in exchange for what I need. I have space on the farm; I need help with Dad’s care.

So far, my role has been divided up to three main caregivers: my dear friends and roommates, Nicol and Andrea, and even Mum has signed on once a week to take care of her ex-husband.

There are others too: Josie takes him for soup lunch at church on Friday, Eva drives him to church on Sunday, and pseudo-stepsisters alternate taking him out for Sunday dinner.

The more I learn to ask and delegate, the lighter the burden is to bear.



About Morbid Optimist

My name is Katryna Mary Brooke Ormiston. I am 35 years old and after living in Vancouver for a decade, I am returning home to my 81 year old father’s hobby farm on Vancouver Island to care for him in the final stages of his life. This blog is to document my journey, process my experiences along the way and hopefully share and feel connected to a community beyond the three and a half acres I find myself on. A message in a bottle in the cyber-sea.
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