I’ve been writing about my experience with an aging/ailing parent lately. I think I’ve hit a point at which I can no longer contain all of the emotions, thoughts, and words within me reasonably. So, I’m writing. Partially to help myself and create some room (because room allows for healing), and partially because I know I am not alone in this experience… and maybe my words can help someone else who feels alone, as I have.
A few days ago, my first article on all this was published on The Manifest Station (you can read it here), and it prompted an outpouring of love and support from friends and strangers alike. (Though, we’re all friends, aren’t we? If we’re reaching out and connecting?) I thought the one article was enough. It wasn’t.
Two days after it came out, I was back to see my father, and it felt just as raw and as difficult as it always does, though it’s a spectrum, of course. This time it was particularly raw. Perhaps because I “broke the seal” or perhaps because he was in a particularly melancholy mood himself… it doesn’t matter. It was the day that it was. And that’s how it is and how it will continue. So, I wrote again. I share it now here:
8 April 2018
Note to self: It doesn’t get easier.
I’m just leaving after visiting my dad at his care home. It was our shortest visit yet, as he was more tired than usual. He fell asleep at the table just after finishing his lunch. He just was ‘done’ today, and managed a “this sucks” in his broken words, from his broken body. And I agreed. And all I could think was to say “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Because I am. I’m sorry for him, for myself, for us, and for anyone who has to live a half-life trapped in a chair, in their body, in their brain… aware of their confinement. It just sucks.
And it doesn’t get easier. Or better.
So, I offer love – no longer hope – in the form of his favorite sandwich and a cookie. Followed by a hug and holding his hand. For just a little while longer.
And then I leave, and for a few days try to forget. Until I go back and remember, all over again, just how much this sucks and that it doesn’t get easier.