3.21.2007

It's Always Something

So, I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately, which is to say, emotionally drained, which is to say, there is bad stuff afoot.

I feel like I haven’t been back to the blogosphere long enough to have (even more) depressing news, but this is my space, and I need it. I’m sharing only if you want to hear. If not, click away and I won’t be offended. I won’t blame you at all – it’s early in the morning. Who wants bad news before coffee?

My dad is sick. We found out only recently, and it’s bad. We will find out just how bad later today, but we pretty much already know the deal.

My dad is sick, it’s bad, and he lives far away from me.

My dad is sick, it’s bad, he lives far away from me, and out of 4 children, I’m the one that will most likely have to deal with the horrible practicalities of this horrible reality.

My older sister lives on the other side of the country, and is on her way back home after spending a month even further away with her my niece. She could be a tremendous help, although I might have to keep things organized. She is a wonderful caregiver and a supportive sister and it would be good if we could be there together, but they don’t even know what’s going on yet, and she will probably have no money to fly to Florida once back.

My little brother is 23. He doesn’t drive and he has no money, and like most big sisters, I feel the need to protect him. And though we’re close, the combination of the two of us is the most likely to be tense. I will be too bossy, and he will be too defensive and together we could possibly make a rough time rougher.

My little sister is a 21-year old student. She doesn’t drive and she has no money. And like most big sisters, I feel the need to protect her. If we were to go together, she would be an excellent caregiver, a wonderfully supportive sister, but I will have to deal with all of the other responsibilities and my yearning to protect her would weigh heavily.

So, while I will have the help and support of my dad’s brother and sister who live near him, and have thus far been his (and our) amazing allies, I will probably be going to Florida alone, the only burden I’m scared to shoulder on my own, the emotional one. I am good at dealing with beurocratic trivialities, I know I can extract the answers and the next steps from the myriad of doctors and experts and administrators that I will have to. All of these things I can handle, and in times of crisis, usually dive into – kind of a welcome distraction. My only hope is that alone, I can give my dad what he needs, both physically and emotionally. My aunt and uncle will of course still be close at hand, but I think they will tag out somewhat once I’m there, or worse, bulldoze me into making decisions that I won’t be convinced are best for my dad.

I will probably leave for Florida on Saturday, and stay a week. And I feel guilty for having waited until even now to go there, and I feel guilty that every day I’m not there I get to live under a thin bad-news shield, and I wish I didn’t have to step out from under it. For so many reasons.

Does this all seem shallow? Does this seem selfish in the face of the real issue, which is that my dad is very sick? I just – I just am not ready to comprehend the magnitude of that reality and what it means to my future – my dad’s future – yet. I feel like, as long as there is ‘work to be done’ and ‘plans to be made,’ the focus, the reason for this work and this planning, can stay in the shadows. At least for a tiny bit longer.

15 comments:

  1. I am incredibly sorry that your father is ill. Although you may feel shallow or selfish, I think that you have many valid points. It sounds like you are going to be your father's advocate, and that will be very hard. You need support from your siblings. I hope that they are willing to help.

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  2. I'm so sorry about yet more bad news in your life. But don't feel bad about sharing it here. Otherwise I think you would feel false... or at least I did until I posted my powerless post.

    I am the baby in my family, and much older than your youngest sibling, but I would want to help. I may not know how, and maybe I would depend on my older siblings to guide me, to tell me what to do. But I wouldn't want to be protected while my older sibling struggled alone.

    You have to take care of yourself, if you're going to be there for your dad, I think.

    I think when going through something like this, ALL your feelings are valid.

    Be good to yourself! I have no doubt you'll be good to everyone else...

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  3. I don't think you're shallow at all. I know exactly where you're coming from and am facing (or rather not facing) a similar possibility myself. If you need a shoulder or an ear, you know where to reach me.

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  4. K,
    I am so very sorry to hear about your dad.

    Ya know, sickness gets portrayed in the media and by Hollywood as something symbolic. We are led to believe that when disease strikes our loved ones that it is and should only ever be an emotional experience. The sad reality is that sickness is so desperately and necessarily caught up in practicalities and futilities. Layer family dynamics into that and you have a stew of mental and physical busy-ness and worry. After my mom died, for example, my siblings and I had to conduct a thorough search of her house to find her will. There was no dignity in this act but it was a necessary one.

    I hope that both you and your dad will be ok. I agree with Sin in that your younger siblings likely would want to be included at some level. Also, they can likely provide support in ways you hadn't even anticipated. Having said that, I remember how much of a Mama-bear I became when my mom died. All I wanted to do was shield my little brother from the magnitude of it all. That responsibility can be a huge weight to bear.

    OK, I am rambling and I likely am not offering anything concrete or helpful. Feel free to ignore. And as No-Mo says, feel free to contact me if you need an ear (or a screen to be more preceise).

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  5. K - I've been there; I am there. If you need an ear, you know where I am.

    In the meantime - ((()))

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  6. I am so sorry to hear about your father. Both of my parents became terminally ill within months of each other - and they are only in their 60's. It is so incredibly difficult.

    Best of luck on your trip this week. Say what you need to say here. There will most likely be plenty you need to say that you won't want to share with your family right away.

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  7. I'm sorry that your family has been faced with this sadness.
    I'm sorry you have even more heartache to process.
    Guilt is so powerful and so toxic. I hope you can find a way to free yourself from that guilt because you already have such a weight to deal with.
    Positive thoughts to you and your family, especially your Dad.

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  8. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I don't think you're being selfish at all. It is a tough thing to deal with. I will be facing this too one day, my father lives overseas and being an only child it will be up to me to deal with everything.
    Lots of hugs to you and well wishes.

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  9. Oh sweetie.

    When I first met you what struck me was the feeling of strength I got off of you.

    This must be done. And you will do it well, to the best of your abilities. And fuck ups are allowed.

    I have done it twice so if you want or need never hesitate to email, to call.
    I am so so so very sorry he is sick. Very sorry.

    Much strength to you.

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  10. Not selfish, not shallow. You are about to shoulder a huge burden, and it's hard.

    I'm sorry to hear that your dad is sick. If there's anything that I can do to ease the burden from here...I know that I don't know you IRL, but I'll do what I can.

    It's so important that someone be there who can and will talk to doctors. The person whose health is at stake is often too overwhelmed to think of the questions to ask. You'll do that, and you'll do it well.

    Good luck, and best wishes.

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  11. Not shallow. Not at all.

    I'm very sorry to hear about your dad. I really am. All I can tell you, from experience, is that you will make it through and everything will be handled. Adrenaline will kick in and you'll take charge where needed.

    Hang in there, hon. I'll be thinking of you in this really difficult time. {{hugs}}

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  12. I don't think you sound shallow at all. You sound sad, and tired and knowing.

    I wish I had more to offer you than just virtual hugs.

    My very best wishes to you and your dad.

    (())

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  13. oh honey. i am sorry. i am really sorry.

    not shallow. real. honest. it's not easy. you don't have to pretend it is.

    i am thinking of you.

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  14. No, it doesn't sound shallow. It sounds like a way for you to cope, to function through this...to wake up every day and face it.

    I'm so sorry that your father is sick, and that you are the one who will be shouldering the load -- yet I'm glad you have your aunt and uncle waiting for you in FL. I've been in this kind of situation with my mum, and I know how difficult it is. If you need anything, don't hesitate to contact me.

    I'm thinking of you, and of your father.

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  15. I am so sorry I have missed this ... I haven't been blog reading lately.

    I am sending my best wishes to you and your father.

    And I so get this .. When my mom had her stroke, I knew it was me that would shoulder the load. And it's okay not to be estaci about that.

    Your dad clearly has children and family who love him dearly. You are all in my thoughts

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