Sunday, April 18, 2010


First of all I wanted to make a correction to my earlier post. My dad was apparently awake yesterday for awhile. He did 2 hours of handyman type work at the house of a client of my mom's (she does assisted living/homecare agency type stuff). My story was (unintentionally) inaccurate.

I wanted to let you know that this afternoon has been kind of tough.

I remember spending the last week of my grandma's life at the hospice with her. It was tough too as her descent was very rapid and heartbreaking. She suffered from dementia when we arrived, but we watched her slip even deeper into that and, eventually, into a coma from renal failure during our week in the hospice before seeing her pass.

I learned a lot while we were at the hospice the hospice (including that I had not severed my emotional ties to food -- this was the start of gaining back the 60 lbs I lost), but the lessons I am talking about were primarily about myself and about death. Many people are able to resist death and fight through it for a long long time (up to two weeks or even a month sometimes) when they have unresolved issues. It was clear that it was my grandma's time to go about 3-4 days before she actually died.

It was also clear, though, that she was NOT ready and was NOT going until she took care of something. The nurses at the hospice kept telling my mom and I (who were there with her the whole time), "She is not ready yet. There is something she needs to hear or wants to take care of." My mom wracked her brain. What could it be? What did she need to hear?

She went through tons of hypotheses. None of them seemed to be what she needed to hear.

One night -- it was a Tuesday I think -- mom was talking to Mema, running through scores of possibilities of what it was that she needed to hear to feel comfortable crossing over, and also telling her that we loved her and would be ok when she decided to go. Finally around 11:30 I decided I needed to get some sleep. Mom continued to talk to Mema, telling her things would be ok for those of us who would be left here. Finally, she told Mema the thing she needed to hear (my mom had no idea this one particular issue was the one that had been troubling Mema, or she would have said it much earlier!).

The nurses came and woke me up at around 12:15. "I think you might want to come in here. I think she is ready to go," they told me kindly. I went into Mema's room and with tears in my eyes and love in my heart I told her that I loved her and would miss her, but that it would be ok. It was hard, but it was probably harder to see her in such a pitiful place before she left. She died at 12:22. I was glad it was over and that she could be in peace.

The last days were painful. They were hard on us, and I am sure they sucked for Mema too.

I agonized all day today over how I should handle this situation with my dad. Should I say anything? If so, what? And also how?

A letter? I was not sure that if I wrote one, that it would get there in time.

A phone call? No. There is a good chance he would say something stupid, and I would get even angrier. And I don't want to have to think about this anymore. And I don't want to blow up at him. There is a good chance that whatever I said would not be what he heard in the spirit it was meant, and vice versa. I don't want my last memory to be a bad one. What would that help? Nope. A phone call was definitely out.

I decided to text him.

"Just wanted to let you know I forgive you," I typed out on my keyboard. Not sure if he remembers that I have said this before. Just wanted to let him know that he has my forgiveness. If that is one thing that he needs to ease down the path toward whatever comes next, I freely and genuinely give it to him. It is out of my hands.

He tried to call me. I was at the colleague's house for dinner and mercifully I did not feel my phone vibrating to let me know I had an incoming call. He left a voicemail.

He sounded terrible on the voicemail. The message started with him coughing. "Thanks for the message Sarah. Wanted to let you know I love you." Click.

I'm not sure I believe him. I am not sure he knows how to love anyone other than himself. I'm also not sure that it matters. I have done what I can, and I will definitely keep the message as something to remember him by just in case it is in fact time for him to go.

When I listened to the message as I left to go home, I started to cry. I cried several times today actually. And do you know what?

I realized that I am already in mourning. It's not so much for my dad's passing-- if it even comes now. I am sad because I laid to rest the possibility that he and I will have a relationship awhile ago. There was an outside chance that he would come around and we would reconcile, but that chance is growing slimmer and slimmer. If he dies, the chance will die completely. I am mourning the fact that I never really felt like I had a dad that I could trust, or one that put our family on his priority list ahead of himself, or one that I even liked after awhile. I am mourning for what never was rather than mourning for what might be lost if he dies.

Who knows what will happen next. I do forgive dad, and if that is the last he hears from me I am glad that he knows.

Wow this sucks for all involved. No one is really a winner here. And food will not help me deal with this situation. It didn't help when Mema died, and it won't help now whether or not my dad ultimately ends up staying here or moving on to whatever happens in the next life.

1 comment:

  1. *hugs* Every heartache makes you stronger. And that probably doesn't make you feel better, but I am in awe of your strength even with our virtual distance. And I just wanted to tell you that. I'll be thinking about you today. Take care.


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