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What I wouldn’t give to flip on the switch of fluorescent light and breathe in the scent of clean clothes from that little laundry room, just one more time.

What I wouldn’t give to see the surprise on Dad’s face as I call his name from the door of the condo and find him eating oatmeal and reading the paper at the little table by the window with the little chairs only little people could possibly sit comfortably on even with the cushions my mom made, just one more time.

What I wouldn’t give to hear the creak of the lid as I open the washer in that little laundry room kitty corner to the kitchen and find the few things he would wear over the course of a week, just one more time…

“What’s in the washing machine, Debbie?” Dad is standing in the doorway, hands in pant’s pockets. There’s plenty of room for his hands because everything else seems to be shrinking at an alarming rate.

“Your dirty clothes, Dad,” I say not trying to sound snarky.

“Some I wash in cold water. They shrink.”

I know he has a very exact way of doing things. I don’t mess with that. Sometimes my help is not helpful. I learn to make sure he knows he is in control of the things he has control over in life. Like his laundry. I pull all the clothes out and we separate them, leaving the non-shrinkables in the washer.

“Dad, why don’t you just wash all these clothes in cold water?”

“I do.”

“Why did we separate them then?”

“I don’t know.”

I throw them all back in. “Well, that was fun!”

He snickers. I love his snicker.


Do you find yourself in a caregiving season? Unexpected fun was everywhere during those last years I had with Dad. I always felt like the time we were sharing would be our last. He was so frail but that went on for five years and it changed my attitude. What could have felt like a burden became my great joy as I wrote and shared the stories of our time together. I received news this morning that one of my articles is going to be published in Content Magazine~finding God in your caregiving season.

This particular story was originally a Facebook post from February 28, 2015, reposted on my blog March 3, 2018 and expanded a little here. Some things never die. I wonder if there are washing machines in heaven…

Feature photo: Sufyan, Unsplash

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