Strange to think I used to update this blog almost daily. And now, I’m hard-pressed to upload even an annual post. Looking back at my last entry in November 2020, it’s tough to believe that just a few days past that, my dad entered the hospital and a whirlwind many months followed, ending with his passing in May 2021.
During the time my dad was ill, I wished I had this blog to turn to for processing my feelings, but it seemed weird (and unreadable) that my only posts would be about dealing with his sickness and death. I come to this today because I’m still grieving big and was moved to express. You know how that can be.
There’s so much that happens internally when a beloved one falls ill and you’re a primary caregiver. It was so important to me that my dad had someone to watch over him in his helpless days. His wife (my stepmom) and her family were focused on other things – mainly the financial impact of my dad’s illness –and didn’t turn out to be “in sickness and in health” and “for better or for worse” kind of people. There was no input offered regarding how my dad, who needed 24/7 care, would be supported emotionally or financially, and once I realized that if he stayed where he first fell ill in Ventura County, he’d be mostly on his own, there was no doubt I’d take over and bring him to San Diego for the proper care.
That meant I was witness to my dad’s final months. A true honor and heartbreak. I watched his eventual realization that his independence had been lost, that his wife and her family were who they were, and that he was probably never going to get out of bed again, and some of those days haunt me. My dad’s humor and positive mindset carried him (and his kids) through many down times, but this was one he couldn’t rise up from, and seeing that fire leave his body hit us all hard.
Luckily, his kids were able to spend precious time with him near the end. We live all over the world, and the chance to come together and be with my dad made a giant difference in how he processed his condition and how we did, too. We visited him nearly daily in the rehab home and in the assisted living facility where he was receiving hospice services the last weeks of his life. Before that, I was able to bring him home with me for more than a month and those days were filled with a million blessings (not my favorite word, but a true one).
For all of my life, I carried a profound understanding that my dad would be there for me in a millisecond if I needed him. To be there for him meant everything. There’s so much more to say. The images seared in my brain the last months, the realizations, the regrets, the anger, the what-ifs, that I almost can’t move forward some days. Letting this much out – even slowly, even in a “public” space such as this, is a start.
Mourning can be molasses like that. I suppose beginning to write it down is an attempt to move it out of me and deal with it.
You know how that can be…