4 years ago5,000+ Views
My dad has been sick my whole life. It wasn't something I regularly thought about. Not until I found out he has to get surgery, now it's the only thought in my head. Now, I have to try and forget.
I've spent a million mornings watching my dad take prescription pill bottles out of the kitchen cupboard and carefully parcel out pills onto the counter.
He'd watch me watch him, which was weird -- for both of us, I think -- and he'd make a joke after gulping them down. He'd say things like down the hatch, or nothing like starting your day with a shot!
I'd laugh, of course, I liked the way he tried to defuse tension with humor. Something I probably got from him.
My dad's been giving me pieces of advice for the past week -- much like the way Uxbal gives his kids stones in the scene above -- and it's been troubling. We'll be standing outside and say something like, I'm not worried. If it's my time, it's my time, or It's in God's hands now.
And, honestly, I don't want it to be in God's hands. I don't want to sit there and wait. I want him to be healthy.
And I spent my weekend, drinking, thinking about this. Thinking about how to process my feelings and my thoughts. At first, I thought this was a great idea. I'll drink to forget, I said to myself.
But I couldn't. My thoughts/worries/guilt/sadness/anger just amplified. Each can that went into the garbage was another regret I couldn't face. I kept asking myself,
Why didn't I help him quit smoking? Why do I give him cigarettes when he's out? Why do I buy him packs when he needs them? What the fuck am I doing? Why don't I spent more time with him? Why don't we talk as much as we used to? Why are we at each other's throats? Why do I...
I let all these thoughts and question spiral out of control until I eventually passed out.
So, you're probably wondering how you actually forget the fact that your dad is dying. Well, the truth is, you don't.
You live with it, everyday. You wake up. You see him and give him a hug. You shake his hand when he extends it. You laugh at every one of his corny jokes. You always ask him if he wants to drink coffee with you. Even though you know he hates leaving the house, you invite him out to the movies every weekend. When he calls you to smoke -- even though you guys shouldn't be -- you step outside with him anyway. You talk to him about spirituality and religion even though those topics make you uncomfortable. You sit down and watch soap operas with him.
You don't forget. You live with it, everyday. And you love him.
THIS IS 2 REAL. My mother got diagnosed with cancer when I was 3 years old, had a reoccurrence when I was 13, and died when I was 27. There was not a year of my conscious life where I thought of my mom as 100% well. She was always having to go for mammograms, MRIs, CT scans, chemotherapy, radiation, etc. She always wore a wig and what she called her 'bad arm' aka the arm I wasn't able to hang onto when I was a little girl with Mom at the mall because that was where her chemotherapy port was. I think the fact it's a reality you've lived with your entire life tends to make you forget how serious it all is and could be. My dad, on the other hand, got lung cancer and COPD when I was 24 and died only a few months later. He was the type that underwent his therapy, but at the same time, smoked when he wanted to and didn't really watch his health as much as the doctors advised of him. My advice would be to be as openly communicative as you can. Tell him that it matters to you that he takes good care of himself, even if you feel a little dumb or like it won't matter in the grand scheme of things. Also, continuing to make memories is always a good thing. You don't have to stick to his side all of the time since, yeah, that's probably a little unrealistic, but put some time aside to hang out with him. It'll help with the anxiety you feel when you're worried it's not enough.
@galinda, thanks so much. It's a weird feeling to be honest. I went through most of my life not even thinking about it. It could be one of those, "innocent kid" things where I was like "Yeah, he'll be fine he's my dad, whatever" but it hasn't really hit me in the real sense until recently. It's tough, but you gotta move forward, you know? @hikaymm living with it is the hardest part. It sounds like such a passive phrase, "yeah, live it with it". But also it's so complex. It falls on such an intense spectrum that I'm still trying to figure out. @esha, Oh no! I'm sorry, but I'm glad the piece resonated with you in some way... Even if it was with sadness... Sorry, again!
I've never thought about what it would be like to have to think about this, like @galinda. My best friends mom also has lupus, and is always in a state of sick--to the point where I forget it, until she catches a cold that develops into something much worse and then you remember and have to think about it again. Idk. I know that doesn't help at all and I don't expect it to. I think you've pretty much come to the only conclusion you can: you live with it.
Wow, this piece is really, really powerful. My mom's mom had lupus and was sick for most of my mom's teens. I still can't imagine having my mom in the hospital during that time in my life.
Reach out to God.