We all have years where there are not many things to celebrate, and lasat year was one of those years. Now when I think back to what happened a year ago, or when Facebook shows me the memories, it is a bittersweet reminder of how far I have come, and how sad life was a year ago.
Yesterday was a year ago that was the beginning of the end for my father. He had been getting progressively weaker as he was taking the oral chemo treatment to give him a few more months with us. His cancer had gotten to the point where this was the last thing that they could do, as the chemoembalism treatments had gone as far as they could go.
My now ex was supposed to check on my Dad before he left for work, but he didn’t (did I mention the ex was cheating on me with prostitutes and strippers?). I was leaving for work early, and since the ex had not indicated there was anything wrong, I did not check on Dad. The One day that I did not go and check on him…
A little after 9am Dad called and left a message. He said he was one sick puppy and could not make it to the doctors appointment later. His words were slurring, he sounded out of breath and tired in a way that I had never heard before.
Panicked, I rushed home when I go the message only to find that my father had a terrible fall early in the morning and had severely hurt himself. He fell in the bathroom, was too weak to get up, rolled himself to the couch in his room and crawled up on the couch where he had been for several hours. He had a Life Alert but had not thought to use it. Had I checked on him before I left for work I would have seen him.
He was rushed to the hospital and was in terrible shape after the fall. A bruised liver, and in and out of delirium , I had to make the decision on the DNR and other such details. If the coded and they tried to revive him, it would puncture his lung, it was cause the bruise on his liver to worsen and he would not survive the process. and it would be very painful. So I told them to do whatever they had to do to make sure that he did not suffer. I was terrified. I was lost. And distraught and confused and heartbroken. There was no one around to help or consult with or lean on. I prayed to make the right decisions for him.
He never did fully recover from that fall. The entire month of December was spent with him in the hospital and rehab. It was the start of all of the awful, heart wrenching process of watching my father die over the next 2 months. My then boyfriend was (in retrospect) too preoccupied with prostitutes, strippers and video games to help. Siblings were away and too busy to be concerned about things so inconsequential.
There was no support from them at all, my siblings, my so called family. No emotional support, offers financial support while I paid for everything, no offers to come over and help to give any kind of breaks from being a constant caretaker. No phone calls, no “Hey, how are you doing? Do you need anything? Can I help in any way?” I had to face the fact that these people were nothing more than uncaring mooches, happy to let their father be someone else’s problem, as long as they were not inconcenienced in anyway – but still kept in contact enough so that they might be included in the will. Which as it turned out, was their only concern.
But I did it, I managed to make the hard decisions, keep everyone informed, be there for Dad, making sure he was as OK as he could be in the circumstance. And I made sure he had the best medical care available. But it was so very hard and exhausting. There are no words known in my vast vacabulary to express the extent of the panic fear and exhaustion. The endless tearful prayers desperately begging God for wisdom, Grace and strength. I can only imagine what it was actually like for my father.
I listened to that voice mail message he left and it broke my heart all over again. My wonderful, amazing, brave father sounded so frail and weak and scared. There is nothing like feeling so helpless and not being able to do anything for someone you love so dearly.
And now, I think about this holiday season, this Christmas and New years are light years better than the last. While I miss both of them so very much, I am happy that they are at peace and together. I am not in a toxic relationship with a sex addict, I am not making medical decisions with no support or guidance from family. I am in a great house that is quickly becoming a home, where I am happy, where I love my job and career, where my friends surround me with love and support. Where there are only kind and loving relationships in my life.
I am happy, I have my rhythm back and my hunger for life. I am back to my sassy self. The most difficult decision I have to make this holiday season is do I really want to wear matching socks when wearing boots? I mean, really, no one will see them.
I am thankful for the time that I had and spent with my father. It was my honor and privileged to rake care of him and be there for him when he needed. And now I carry that with me moving forward, celebrating this holiday season, with an Unbroken Heart.