Daddy Frank and Milton: The Friend Who Changed His Life

July 26, 2018

 

 

Depression Meets Its Match

 

This is the story of Frank, an 89 year-old man whose life was completely changed by one small but incredibly significant thing that his daughter did for him. Frank has progressive macular degeneration and is now legally blind.

Being blind makes the challenges of aging considerably more daunting. Many of the things Frank loved - fixing things, making things, etc. were no longer possible.  His daughter lived far away from Frank, but visited every 4-6 weeks. Every time she left, it was bitter sweet - she enjoyed the visits, but hated to leave her dad alone. She struggled for ways to curb his sadness and depression. None of the various things she tried worked. Every time she left to come back to California, she left with a heavy heart.

 

Close to Home

 

Frank isn't actually one of our clients.  Frank is my wife Lisa's father, whom she has called "Daddy Frank" ever since her mother married him when she was 6 years old.  She called him "Mr. Frank" when they were dating, but when Frank and her mom got married, naturally he became Daddy Frank.  Frank lives 3,000 miles away in Louisiana. Lisa is an only child and therefore the sole family member taking care of her father. Due to his blindness and declining health, Lisa coordinates most aspects of his life - paying bills, filling insurance claims, coordinating caregivers, and going to doctors visits.  But the one thing she couldn't effectively fix was his mood - more specifically his depression.  And his depression was starting to cause a downward slide in his physical health.

 

One day during a visit, Lisa was cleaning out a closet and came upon a bird cage that had once been a prominent part of her life growing up.  Their family always had several birds.  Canaries were her father's favorite. He loved listening to them sing, especially in the morning.  The lightbulb went off for Lisa. She had to get her Dad a canary.