Monday, May 23, 2011

Where m. is at a Loss for Words

I have a tendency to over-share.

I'll pause here for a minute so you can snicker and guffaw at the obviousness of that statement. "Oh really? She "over-shares" says the girl with 399 posts on a blog about people sticking things up her vagina?? The young lady who torments her beloved husband with tales of her amazing bowel movements? (they are awesome, fyi) You don't say!"

Well, yes. I do say. Generally, I say a lot. Far more than you ever wanted to know. It has taken me years to realize when someone asks, "how are you?" they're not really wanting all of that information. M is always one to remind me that out of 100 people who ask, 80% could truly care less, maybe 10% actually root for bad things to happen, and maybe, just maybe 10% are cheering you on.

So, I get that. And over the years, I've gotten much better at keeping my aches and pains and musings and commentary about others around me to myself. For the most part. But I still blab. A lot. About personal things. Which annoys M. to all get out. He doesn't much care for people all up in his bidness. Casually mention something I said to you about M. to him, and just watch the daggers shoot out of his eyes past you, the innocent offender, directly to his wife, that's me. The blabber.

But I've been observing something lately. There is one part of my personal life that I cannot speak about. As in, physically, words stop short in my mouth. Its like I experience an actual log jam in my throat.

It's my dad.

And it's usually when those 10% who actually DO give a shit ask. The concern is real.

How's your dad? Is he ok?

And I stand there like a mute. Sometimes people see me struggle with my syllables and they save me. "It's ok. No need to respond. I just want you to know I'm thinking about you." Others sit and wait for me to force something out.

I, I, I.....I don't know. I mean, I do know I just can't say. I mean I can say, I just.....

Yes. Someone actually does pay me to communicate. It's in my job title. And these fragments are all I can muster.

My dad is not good. But really, if I am honest with myself, he has not been "good" for a very long time. Only now, he has a diagnosis. He has been waiting and wanting to die since oh, about 2005. But now he has some x-rays and pieces of paper to defend his musings on morbidity.

I don't know how long he has to live. I truly do not. It could be weeks, months, years. It could be days.

How do I feel about this?


Wow. She is Captain Obvious today, huh kids?

No wait. There's more to it. I am not particularly sad that he is going to die. My mother will be happier. HE will be happier. Those thoughts make me sad. But I am terribly, terribly sad that my father has no joy in living. At all. And I'm not sure he has for a very long time. I can barely stand to try and imagine what that kind of existence must be. What a weight to carry.

Every time I see him I want to scream, "What if you die tomorrow? Don't you want to DO SOMETHING with today?!?!"

But I know, I just know what his response will be: "Well hell, if I'm gonna die tomorrow, might as well just get it over with today....."


And this makes me want to yell and cry and ball my fists and punch and....

And what? Clearly, I cannot change him. We've been over this. But gosh, it makes me sad. Not the end, but the steady progression and wishing, hoping, forcing the end. Because somehow the two kick-ass kids you raised and the life you made for your family is not sufficient enough reason to try to live. To try to enjoy living. All he sees are the opportunities he DIDN'T have, the money that he assumes others have and he doesn't, the luck that THEY have and he missed out on.....

Is this man clinically depressed? Does the pope shit in the woods? Of course. But could you fit one more anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-being-a-bastard pill down his gullet? Unlikely. Counseling? Ha. Try it. Even my brother (I did it for you. Can't you do it for me?) hasn't won that one.

So I steel myself for another few days with him. We'll head down this weekend. And he'll be happy to see us for a few minutes, spend the next few minutes bitching about my mom, who will then leave to find some respite. He'll sulk. We'll try to un-sulk him. He'll stare at the TV. We'll deal until a hallmark movie comes on and then text each other while we're sitting there plotting our escape. We'll go someplace for a beer and to vent and to recharge for the next day. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I've started assigning deeper meanings to my father's actions. For no other reason than it helps me love him. I don't care if I'm projecting. I don't care if I am even remotely close to his intentions. My cousin and her newborn baby girl were down to visit last weekend. He told me he had no desire to hold the baby. At all. I attribute this to him mourning the grand-daughters he cannot hold. M says that's a stretch.

I don't care. That is what I would like to believe. So I've decided I will believe it.


So, how to encapsulate all of that into a one-sentence answer in response to "how's your dad?" I can't.

So I don't.


Anonymous said...

I also overshare, I've become acutely aware of it. But it doesn't stop me, and I've also had a little talking to from DH... I love analysing why I think he's thinking something, with around 20 or so of my closest friends!

About your dad, I can imagine how draining that must be. I guess when we stop hoping someone will start enjoying their life and investing our own energy in them doing that, it sets us free. Maybe just let him be, and when his attitude to life is no longer affecting you, something might open up for you in your relationship with him. Easier said than done of course!

still life angie said...

I have a similar dad. His motto in life is, "I don't give a shit." Or at least that is how he responds to every question. And he had been dying for twenty years, and may live for another twenty. It is draining, absolutely draining. And yet, I love him. Perhaps that is the greatest gift my father gave me. He really taught me about unconditional love, because he has given me every curmudgeonly reason to not love him, and I still do and I still go and help me. Also he taught me how not to live, which is a gift too. I hope your weekend has pockets of peace. Love you. xo

Smiling said...

another over sharer here... who feels that no matter what happens, there will be a story here somewhere...

Your situation with your dad sounds really tough and complicated and not made for one-liners. Its hard when you know you'd do it differently, but can only stand by and wonder.

As for when people ask about your day, maybe just respond as if they were asking you 'how are you doing with your dad's situation?' or 'is there anything you want help with or want to do with me to seize to day?"

I suspect many of them know you, may be not him, and really are asking about you... and checking you need some support. And for those that don't seem to care, leave it at 'its tough, nothing's perfect, and we take it day by day."

good luck. Thinking of you!

Nadine said...

I sit on the side with M. I am an undersharer, to the extreme, I hate people knowing my business, and I don't tell my mother anything because she sits in the over sharer camp and has over shared once too often.

Your amazing for trying to find ways and reasons to live your Dad. It sounds like he'll on earth, my mother falls into the depressed/panic attack/OCD/generalized anxiety and I find it hard to deal with, to the point where I have more or less cut her out, she won't deal with her crap, and my life is too short to have that misery in it. But, like I have said before, I'm a bit of a cold hearted bi@ch, and ou my dear are a warm kind person.

I hope your dad appreciates it, and don't forget to take car of you.

dana said...

Continue to do whatever it is you need to do in order to cope and deal with this sucky situation.

Thinking of you both - as well as your dad; even though the choices are his, how absolutely sad it must be living his last leg this way.

Two Shorten the Road said...

I'm sorry about your dad. :(