As I mentioned in my last blog, my mother passed away on September 3rd.
Just a week later, believe it or not, my Dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. And he’s now on hospice.
Everyone in my family is amazed that he’s lived this long – until 91 – and that he’s survived my mother. My Dad is 75 pounds overweight. He has a pacemaker. The only exercise he’s really gotten has been his all-too-frequent trips to the refrigerator…where he would open the door and come out with a huge slab of ham or sausage or pork. He smoked when he was younger. And he was an ironworker – which meant he was constantly breathing soot and dust.
My Dad is not in pain, thankfully. And, for a man who lost his wife last month and is now on hospice himself, he’s in fairly good spirits.
I’m going through mixed emotions, trying to sort out my clashing feelings. My Dad can be a hard man. He was a loving man, but a difficult man…impatient, and a yeller. He was a wonderful uncle to his nieces and nephews. And though he could be gruff and loud around the house, my brother and I always knew there was never a doubt that he’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.
When he called me to yell at me a week or so ago, I listened for a few minutes…and then hung up on him. Ill or not, I believe he had no right to speak to me like that. I’m not a little girl anymore. I’m an adult, with a lot of responsibility…not only to my family, but also to my clients. Emotionally, physically, psychologically, and emotionally, after the past few months, I’m stretched about as far as a person can be. So, while I’m carrying an overwhelming burden of sadness about my Mom’s passing, and my Dad’s impending passing, I’m also doing what I encourage my clients to do – trying to take care of myself, and trying to look after myself as well as my Dad.
My father’s got a full-time aide. He has a Care Manager. He’s got a driver. When he was in rehab for four months, I was there all the time. I tell my clients in similar situations that we can only do as much as we can do. And we don’t have to apologize to anyone for it.
So once again, it seems, I’m on a sort of “death watch.” While I’m still getting over the death of my mother.
If I didn’t know what it felt like, before, to be one of my clients, I sure do now.
Alice’s Mom and Dad, Part 4: My Dad’s on Hospice