I haven't written much about my dad lately, for two reasons: first, there hasn't been any concrete news, and second, I've been avoiding the subject.
I'm still not coping well. That sounds idiotic.. an elderly father's illness is not something anybody copes with very well. What I mean is, this is worse. Worse than when my mother fell ill and died when I was 30 with a newborn baby. Worse than when my favourite uncle (who was more like a grandfather to me and my kids) fell ill and died five years ago.
At least I think it's worse. Maybe I'm forgetting.
There's elements in this situation that are new, though. My father is my last surviving relative of his generation. Nobody is left on my mother's side and my father's brothers and sisters are all gone too. I have five cousins spread across North America who just are not interested. They talk to my father but not to me.
I have no siblings of my own nor even any childhood friends who keep in touch! If noone is left who remembers me as a child, did I even exist?
Beyond the weird philosophizing, symptoms are coming out.. headaches and stomach problems. They don't even try to be subtle... I talk to Dad on the phone and then rush to the bathroom. I ignore the irony that his health problems are largely in his bowel and are drastically more serious than mine.
We had a chat with the family doctor this week. My stepmother was crying about her inability to cope with Dad's problems amid her own failing memory. They need to subscribe to the food and housekeeping plan that exists in the very building where they now live, but Dad is dragging his feet. The doctor suggested that I involve a social worker to discuss options. Before my conscious brain intervened, that suggestion felt like a slap in the face.. it was like saying I'd failed as a daughter.
Yes I KNOW that's not so, my mind is fully aware of that. It was just an automatic emotional response which really surprised me, yet I can't quite shake it completely.
Maybe I should help them more. Shop and cook for them. (No, that would be like encouraging them not to get the support they need and which is readily available.) Maybe I should yell and scream and insist it be done NOW, not next week as Dad has promised. (No, that'll cause more harm than good.)
The thing I wish I had most right now is a brother or sister. Someone to share the worry and the decisions and the responsibility. I've never hated being an only child until now.
I know this entry has way too many "I"s in it. It should be about Dad, not about me. Then again it is my journal, and these feelings won't go away by themselves (I gave them every opportunity to do so). I'm therefore inflicting them upon the world.
And in the interests of equal time: things for which I am grateful:
My children. Unquestionably.
Hubby, who's being surprisingly supportive.
Friends (on and offline) especially the ones reading, especially especially Stephanie.
The internet, the world's biggest and best mental playground.
Books and music.
The ladies in my bowling league, speaking of which...
Yesterday's Bowling scores: 130 152 129 Total = 411.
Last year's average: 132
This year's average: 122.
Three lousy pins short of 123. Ack.
Seriously, it's a cool resource to have in your bookmarks.