Each time I visit my parents, I see an increase in their decline.  Mom appears shorter than before and she can't hear well.  Dad's a little slower, but always has a smile on his face.  There is never any easy way to age when health limitations kick in.  This week, my thoughts, usually filled with to-do lists of things to catch up on from cleaning to grocery shopping, are flooded with snapshots of time at home in Virginia. It's hard when you learn a parent is facing that final frontier, a place often unchartered.  I feel helpless being hundreds of miles away.  I struggle with the decision of when to go home.  And i pray my Dad is comfortable and my Mom comforted as my brothers try to assist.

I was home for a visit only about six weeks ago and wanted to take some photos of my parents before I had to leave.  Mom always hates it when I do that, feeling like she looks a hundred years old, but I convinced her to sit with Dad and let me take a few shots.  Dad gently placed his hand on Mom's shoulder and I snapped away.  But I was drawn to his hand and the way he protectively held my mother.  My father, his mind ravaged by the effects of Alzheimer's, still has the wherewithal to show his love and affection to the woman he married 64 years ago.  This, in turn, comforts me as I try to navigate this uncharted course.