Am I cheating myself—my father—by not grieving in the usual way? Why am I not? Is it perhaps because of the headaches and heart-aches he cause us to suffer over the last 5 years, dealing with both my parent’s lives? Still, is it fair to me, to dad… Am I holding back a dam of feelings, only to have it burst open at some point in the (near) future? Likely.
I feel guilt, sometime an overwhelming amount, at the lack of heavy grief I’ve gone through. Have I cried? Yes, of course. But compared to what I believe I should have done, should be doing…I’m not sure it measures up to what others might believe appropriate. The feelings of bitterness, anger, frustration; the wish for him to just go away so I could get mom help. Go back to Argentina, live with your brother, off yourself, as you often mentioned. Was it all just an excuse for me to step away, release responsibility, regain the liberty and freedom I’d always had, until my parents stepped back in?
I keep thinking, going through photo albums, “I have to ask dad who these people are”, mom being too far gone to offer any insight. But no, I can’t.
I look back at all the photos of my father. What an amazingly elegant man! And the photos of them as a couple: the two of them made such an incredible pair. Not something you see anymore: the mid-60s panache. Why did they have to come to such an ignominious end? Why did dad have to be forced to witness the complete failure of the only woman he loved?
Yes, my father was lashing out, a bitter angry man for the obvious reason above. He moved here 6 years ago without telling me. We always assumed to get help from me, to be close to someone who might assist him. Mind you, I never knew my mom’s diagnosis until a couple years later. my father telling us about a fictitious tumor and wasting money on numerous scans and such. Were I a kinder human being I might’ve listened more. But I did listen! Practical me, I did what had to be done to make sure everything was in order. I proposed logical options to the upcoming, unavoidable situation. Although we’d ‘hang out’ when they first move to the area, as things got worse, and dad lashed out more, the visits became less and less, when it likely should’ve been more and more. I suppose I should’ve heard, seen, understood and acted accordingly. Instead perhaps, I reacted, not always well, considering my longtime headbutts with my dad.
But we tried! I know in my heart we did. I think back on it and, as we’re wont to do, forget the times he told me to go to hell as I drove away, mom at his back asking him to calm down. The time when a disagreement forced a glass to come hurtling at me as I stood in the kitchen. Acting out exasperations, I know. But unwarranted, considering the amount of help and options we’d presented along the way. That’s the fact of which I have to keep reminding myself: we tried endlessly to do—and offer them—the best thing for them. Every time dad did just the opposite.
I understand his situation. After almost 50 years what exactly would I do if C was in this condition?
Should I have stopped and listened better? Yes, obviously. And herein lies the (misplaced?) source of my regret and guilt, with myself.
Oh, to have the perfect answers when you actually need them!