Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The ties that bind

I've been thinking about my dad for 2 days now. A tugging in my mind and soul- a pushing and pulling to make contact. I resisted until today, when I called my sister.

She was already crying. My sister does not cry. Ever.

My father fell in the rehabilitation home a week ago, hitting his head on a metal pole. He was taken to the hospital, checked out and cleared.

But since then he has been increasingly confused, and today has been wandering the halls since 5:30 AM, trying to strike the nurses with his cane, and acting increasingly paranoid.

They called an ambulance. He refused to go, saying that they were the cops and taking him to jail. This went on all day, until they called my sister and put him on the phone with her. She told him nobody was taking him to jail, just transporting him by ambulance to UNMC. He kept saying there were cops everywhere.

In the end, he went.

So now, we wait again.

My sister and I have never been super close. I love her dearly. She is loving and calm and has always shown me grace and care. But she is older than me, and was starting her married life when I was still very young. Our lives simply didn't mesh.

We don't talk often, don't even exchange Christmas cards.

But we are drawn together over this man that we both love, despite his many flaws. A man that did not treat either of us particularly well, and yet we still are invested in his world.

My sister loves him, but she also has the unenviable task of making decisions for his care. The decision that he won't go home again. That she will commit him to a nursing home for the rest of his life. Just in speaking to her, I can tell that the decision is weighing heavily on her. I am sad for her, wish I could hug her. I wish she didn't have to do this.

I ask her- "Should I come?" and she says "Maybe it's time."

And she says "If he would have just stopped drinking..." and we both sigh.

Because it is true. If he would have stopped drinking, he never would have fell. He wouldn't have stopped eating. He wouldn't have lost his mind.

My heart is so heavy tonight. I am thinking of my daddy alone in a hospital. Confused and possibly injured. Is it a stroke? Concussion? Is it the end?

And most heavy on my mind, my friends, is this: in my inability to stop being angry and disgusted, have I lost precious time? In making a decision to step away from something I cannot bear to watch, have I lost the father I knew? If I don't go, will he still know me if I do decide to wait?

I am torn, and angry at myself. I made a choice for my sanity, but I am now second guessing everything.


Shit shit shit.

I just want to do the right thing. The thing I can live with. The thing that lets me sleep at night, and helps me to make it through the day.

I wish I could be sure what that is.