It had been a great week at Lloyd and Marilyn’s. Charlie had sand between his toes, some colour on his skin, and levity in his spirit. The weight of his grief was diminishing and he had his friends to thank for that. Catherine had been calling almost daily to check-in with him, and Charlie’s mind was clearer and more responsive. He found it easier to quell some of his daughter’s concerns and help her in her own grieving process.
“You know Catherine, you could probably use a holiday yourself,” Charlie suggested during one of their regular afternoon phone conversations. “I don’t know dad. There’s so much to be done around the house right now. Jared is back up north working for weeks on end. The boys are back from university for the summer. It’s just not a good time.” Charlie chuckled, “Catherine, that is EXACTLY why you need to take some time. Jared is away and the boys are more than capable of taking care of themselves. I’m certain they would appreciate some time with their friends after being away at school all year. You haven’t had time to look after yourself. You have been focused on everyone else.” Catherine let out a long sigh. “Where would I go? I’ve actually never taken a vacation by myself. Is it nice where you are?”
Charlie could sense Catherine fishing for an invite to come to Alabama, but knew he needed his time away by himself. Catherine needed the same. “Well, is there anyone you’ve wanted to visit? Or anywhere you’ve wanted to see?” There was a pause on the other end of the line. “Actually, my friend Annette had invited me on a girls’ trip to New York. I said no, because the boys were coming back home, but…maybe you’re right dad. Maybe I should go.” “Darn right you should!” Charlie blurted out affirmatively. “Seize the opportunity honey. It’s done wonders for me to be out here with my friends. In fact, I’m considering staying here a little while longer.”
Catherine gasped. “How much longer? What about your place at the Manor? How can you afford your rent and be down south at the same time? I thought you were worried about money?” Charlie chuckled again. “I am worried about money. But things have a way of sorting themselves out. Lloyd and Marilyn are being more than hospitable and I am saving money now that I’ve moved into a smaller suite. Beaches are free entertainment and hot dogs here are two bucks.” “You can’t just eat hot dogs, dad. And those aren’t good for you,” Catherine retorted. “I’m an old man, and if I want to sit on a beach right now and eat two dollar hot dogs every day all day, I’m going to do just that. Stop worrying about me. If I’ve learned anything lately, it’s that life is just too short for worry. You go to New York honey. Have a ball. Relax a bit.”
Catherine wasn’t sure what to make of things. “Who are you and what have you done with my dad?” She laughed. “Your dad is still here, he’s just gaining some perspective.”
Our story is taking a pause this summer while Charlie enjoys some much-needed time away. Self-care, regardless of one’s age, is an important practice and much needed during trying times or during periods where new perspectives might be helpful.
As we take a break from our storytelling, we invite you to think about topics and issues related to aging and seniors living that you’d like more information on. Chances are we have addressed some of these topics in previous issues of Charlie & Hazel, or we have information at hand that could help. We’ll be using this break as an opportunity to engage with you better. So please, comment below with your ideas, thoughts and questions. If your queries are very specific or personal, feel free to send us a private message through messenger if you are more comfortable doing so.