I'm watching my daddy die.
He's 80. He hasn't been really well in over 15 years, but he's gotten along ok, able to drive and go to the donut shop in the mornings...able to fix a few things around the house and feel like life has some meaning.
Back in December, we took him to the hospital for a strangulated hernia. He had emergency surgery, and was sent home the next day. From that day, things have gone steadily downhill.
My dad, who was always the strongest person I knew, can barely hold himself up on his own legs. The man who never, ever held back an opinion (even when he surely should have) can't get any words out of his mouth without intense concentration. Most of the time, he can't get them out at all. The father I watched figure it all out can't figure out how to get one foot to move in front of another.The man who could fix anything that was broken is now broken himself.
It's been a very strange transition for me...from daughter who depends on her dad to care taker...My daughter says I am just like a mom to him. I don't know how I can be so calm and patient and caring and sure of myself when I am helping him, but when I drive away, I feel like a scared child.
I'm a little angry about the whole thing...it doesn't seem fair that he should suffer like this.
It also doesn't seem fair that my mom, who has taken care of others her entire life, is now a prisoner in her own home. She is 77, and in very good shape all things considered. But since Dad got bad in December, she has put on 10 years. She is so tired. She is so mentally and physically exhausted. And she is so ridden with unnecessary guilt. She thinks she has to do it all. She doesn't want to upset or confuse my dad, she doesn't want to burden me, she doesn't want to ask someone else to do what she perceives to be her job. And so she carries the weight of it all on her own shoulders and only gets help when we force it upon her.
I just want them to be happy...healthy...at peace with themselves. I realize this isn't possible. I know the rest of my dad's days will be a struggle for both of them. I know that no matter what happens, my mom will feel like she's not enough. I know that no matter how much I want the clock to turn back, time will march on.