Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 7 with Dad



(Tuesday, April 23, 2013)

Early this morning Reluctant Heart unexpectedly stopped by on his way to pick up uncle at the airport; we hadn’t really gone back to speaking terms so I’d not told him about the epic voicemail from uncle.  Being protective, Richard mentioned it to him, much to my surprise Reluctant Heart said that wasn’t appropriate and he’d say something.  Wow.  OMG.

In the early afternoon uncle and Reluctant Heart arrived and uncle apologized.  He offered to take me out to dinner, but declined because I was there for Dad and didn’t want to leave…Dad might just sneak out the back door on us!

Things were okay, tense, but okay.   I don’t know how you can really rebound from something like that, but I had to stay focused.  Perhaps Brain Injury has taught me how to find a way through in the toughest times, maybe it’s just survival, I don’t know.  I do know something far greater than any of us was taking place and I knew I had to keep it together and see Dad through.

With uncle and Reluctant Heart visiting Dad that allowed me time to research a couple of funeral homes and make some calls.  This is a time I wish I was well-versed in these things, it’s like me first learning to speak latte, definitely a whole new language. 

Pre-need?  What?  I have to talk to a Funeral Director and a different person to discuss the burial?  We have to go there and flag the site?  Dad has owned the plot for 30 years, they should know where it’s at!  Paperwork?  We have to sign paperwork?  Who needs to sign it?  Church services?  Dad never talked about a funeral, he just always said he would be buried next to Mom. 

I took notes but I'm exhausted, it’s over my head, too much to learn.  I call one funeral home that the Hospice Social Worker mentioned doing a lot of work with.  They are compassionate and kind, far different than the place Dad has his plot at. 

This is all so weird.  Dad is still alive and we’re talking about a burial, funeral, and Hospice will need to know who to call to come pick up the body.  Body?  That’s my Dad!
I manage to function pretty much in spite of my family.  This is old hat…my family has never ‘been there’ for themselves, how in the world could they be there for me or Dad?  My family is impotent at relationships.  There I said it.  I see flaming character defects in my family and in myself and I want to be anything but who I am right now. 

Rebel Heart brother calls to tell me he won’t be there after work like he promised.  Okay, uh, why are you telling me this?  I said to come anytime; Hospice is open 24/7.  He then proceeds to tell me he got a tattoo of Superman with our Dad’s initials because in a previous conversation there was reference to Dad being a hero.  Hmm…I feel like a hypocrite.  I talk to him, listen to what he has to say, but it doesn’t sit well with me.  What am I supposed to say?  Seriously!  Dad is dying and you can’t find a way to be here?  But, you have time to get a tattoo?!!  Whatever.  Clearly my nerves are wearing thin.

And, in the forefront of my mind is another mental mind bender: I was speaking to the person who unleashed his terror and violence on me growing up.  Twenty-five years ago, we don’t keep in touch, being a family is merely a formality.  I’m sorry, but to be true to myself is to have nothing to do with him.  Those nightmares still surface for a reason.  Yet here I sit conversing with him…wow…it’s all so…fake.

I get off the phone and tell Dad that he and I aren’t all that much different, people just don’t have time for the dying or the disabled.  Pretty sad.  Even Religious Heart can’t make it.  He’ll be here for the funeral, though.  Wow.  By this time he, his wife and two sons have said their good-byes to Dad over the phone. 

I don’t want to be a hero, I don’t want to be a leader, but that is my old role in the family and who am I to expect anything else?  The women always did EVERYTHING and the men just showed up.  Much to my surprise, my brain is almost functioning like it used to, and that feels good.  I miss my old, high functioning self.  I miss that edge, but, like Cinderella, I know my carriage will turn into a pumpkin far too soon.  It can’t last.  It never does.  And, there’ll be hell to pay when I finally hit the cold, stone wall of debilitating brain fatigue.  Richard expects me to be in recovery for at least a week. 

I’m being looked to as the leader of this whole deal, holy cow!  Don’t follow me; I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing!  I’ve never done this before. 

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