Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh daddy.

Last Friday, before the traveling circus took off for this trip across the US, I spoke to my father on the phone. I asked him how he was doing and he said: “I am vaiting…”
“What are you waiting for papa?”
“The old man…”
“What old man, papa?”
“The von with the beard.”
“Old man time?”
“Daddy, nobody wants to hear you speak like that.”
“But Feffa, I em so tired.”
“I know you are daddy.”
“It’s so tiring…”
“I know it is daddy. But when you get here, we will have a nice place for you to go where you can relax, and eat well, and I can visit you very often, and no more chaos. So all you have to do is hang with it until you get to Oregon, okay?”
“I love you daddy.”
“I love you Feffa.”

They arrived on Monday. My dad was one hair’s breadth away from death. The trip had taken everything out of him, and my mother’s nurturing care had left him malnourished, dehydrated and completely unresponsive. We got to the care facility and I decided to call an ambulance. He was rushed to the hospital where they said he was not going to live for much longer. His DNR stated specifically to let him pass without further action; he wants to be allowed to die. Of course, in mother’s true caring fashion, she told them to try to resuscitate him. Luckily, lovely Oregon doctors are very much concerned about the ethics of going against someone’s wishes… and they met my mother’s resolve like a stone wall.

My father was admitted and remains in a strange limbo. His organs are failing, his BP is incredibly low, but he is somehow managing to cling on in this really deep, restful snoring sleep. My theory is that having endured that exhausting trip with those crazy people for seven days, he wants to sleep it off first before he embarks on his final voyage. He wants to be rested. I’ve been beside him as much as humanly possibly, despite my mother’s constant and unreasonable claims on my time and attention, and have managed to be there to talk to him as he lies there in a wasting silence, taking strong breaths, never opening his eyes or responding, even to pain. I’ve talked to him about everything I wanted to say. I called my sisters and let them say what they wanted to say, and even my distant, detached eldest brother had something to share. I set up a radio so he can listen to All Classical 89.9—classical music was profoundly important to him; and it was he who instilled a love for it in me. He lies there, slowly fading. It’s heart wrenching, and oddly comforting at the same time. They combed his hair, and shaved his face; the tireless neat-freak that he is would only appreciate how nice he looks. I sang him “You are my sunshine” at my sister’s request—and have told him how much he is loved. And now, we wait.

He never should have traveled. My mother’s selfish lies have brought his already fragile existence to an end. She, ever the black hole of negativity, still thinks she deserves more attention than he does. Today, my filter crumbled and I lost all reserve with her. All these months, the culminated ire and resentment poured out in a volume and harshness I’ve never ever reached before. Her attempts to argue, undermine, mock and dismiss were met with unchecked fury. Whether it had any progressive effect, I am dubious. But it has cowed her… tucked her tail. She knows that to rely upon me, she has to be civil and rational, or I am finished with her forever.

When my brother is in care… and my father safely lifted away from the hell of a life she put him through, I am done. My mother will be free to wreck her life as she pleases. I am through. She all but killed my father with years of neglect and cruelty, and then wants to take away even his final wishes and the chance for his daughters to offer him the love and respect he deserves at this time.

I’ve been off work trying to get her life in order because all the planning for the move that we did was somehow undermined and ruined by her complete lack of responsibility. So I am forced to spend time I should be at my father’s side helping her get settled in her rental; setting her up for phone, TV and getting her groceries and what she needs until the movers finally arrive—all the while enduring the endless complaints and abusive, meanness. It occurred to me that part of this might be because she is ‘detoxing’ from not having any alcohol for a week. Today, my husband took her to see my father, and she made him stop so she could buy wine. I am so disgusted by her. My husband has been incredible—putting up with her BS and helping with everything; at my side this whole time, holding me when sometimes, I feel like I can stand no more; sleeping in a hard reclining chair in the hospital room while I try to doze on a cot next to my father’s bed.

This week has been pure hell. All I can hope for is that daddy can let go and find his peace—and that mom will finally give me peace after I am able to find a situation for John.

You asked for an update, Christine. You got it. ::sardonic smirk::


Christine H. said...

Wow, that certainly is an update. Your poor father...and poor you. What a trial. I hardly know what to say in terms of words of encouragement, but I will be thinking of you.

Misty said...

When my husband's father was reaching the end of his life in December I was astounded at the care provided at the assisted living home we were able to get him in to. It was incredible how gentle yet matter-of-fact they were, and I am very thankful for them all. Oddly enough, my own sister was one of the workers there, a woman I haven't had a relationship with for more than a decade, other than holiday cards. But somehow it comforted us that family would be taking care of him.

Its not easy. Maybe you can just send Mommy Dearest back to whatever rock she crawled out from under? I'll be thinking of you.

Charlotte said...

I'm so sad that he is at the end of life, but I'm glad that you are able to be with him, and give him the care he deserves. Hugs

Tara Ryan said...

I'm thinking of you.


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