Six weeks! Hubby and I took a six week sabbatical from life....arriving in Florida to celebrate my mom's 85th birthday. It was hard leaving the grand baby but not at all difficult saying good-bye to snow and more snow! My sister and her husband were spending January and March next door to my folks but that left February open...since hubby is on redeployment leave (not to mention currently unemployed), we "sacrificed" to spend the month helping my folks continue their recovery. It has been such a shock to see how heart surgery can fundamentally change a person. My mom has always been a pillar of strength, stoic and solid but since this valve replacement she is fragile, vulnerable, emotional, and lacking in self-confidence. We saw some improvement before we left, and I am optimistic she will be better when she returns home but not at all sure that she will be her old self.
My hubby and I would take a walk almost every morning, four to six miles. The first few weeks, we walked in the edge of the surf. The last few weeks, we put on sneakers and hit the sidewalk, walking over a bridge and back with just gorgeous birds all about and water everywhere. He'd then play about two hours of volleyball followed by lunch with my folks.
Four o'clock coffee overlooking the ocean and bocce a few afternoons a week were just what the doctors ordered. It was great to see how tenderly and patient he was with my mom especially. He would walk with her on the beach, keeping her pace slow so she could go a little further each time. He was her grocery shopping partner, going at a snail's pace and assuring her that was all that had to be done that day and they could take as long as they needed. His calm, no pressure, unhurriedness was just what she needed. He might just have to go back in April.