Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I'm a bit of a mess this morning. A huge jumbly brain-scrambled mess. I blame my dreams. Awful, awful dreams.

The kind that continue and develop and grow new layers throughout the night. No matter how many times you wake up and try to shake them off. Those.

The entire dream sequence took place in the house where I grew up, not far from here. The bedrooms, the kitchen, the driveway. All vividly drawn. It started with me curled under the covers in my parents' old water bed, heat turned up, trying to get warm, mom coming in and trying to comfort me. I had just learned that dad was going to take his doctors' advice and go to the hospital and, for lack of a better word, go get euthanized. His cancer had grown, no hope was in sight, and the docs thought this was the best approach, an easy, painless death.

He was packing an overnight bag - habit, I guess. But neither of us stopped him. He was cheerful enough, and relieved to have instructions to follow. He may have been whistling.

In real life, my dad is the type of person that takes a doctor's word as bond (except if those words have anything to do with losing weight). "He (or she) is the professional, not me. What do I know? They know best....."

I was crying and getting myself ready to go with him. Grabbing my knitting and the hat I had started to make for him. But he won't be able to wear it... I thought. I don't care. I. don't. care. I am making it anyway.

Dad came in as I was collecting my things and gave me a big hug and that's when the ocean of tears burst through. This is not ok by me! This is not ok by me! I don't know if I said this out loud or just repeated it to myself over and over again.

I realized my brother wasn't there and told my mom she had to find him. Fast. She explained he was out of town with a friend. I explained that if he missed a chance to say goodbye to dad and we let that happen he would never forgive us. And I wouldn't either. She agreed and made some calls. In seconds my brother was in the hallway, almost as tall as the low ceiling. "Hey, everyone! What's going on?" he jovially asked.

"Dad's going to the hospital," says mom.

...and not coming back. And not coming back. That is the part she omits.

My brother always seems to get the benefit of omissions. True, he has a hair trigger temper and has been known for his outbursts. What few people understand is that rage rages inside me too. I just have years and years of experience choking it down. So I get the full brunt of the Real. Brother gets digestible snippets. I apparently "can handle it."

As clearly evidenced by the sea of nightmares claiming me last night.

At this point, I wake. Try to shake it all off, and fall into another dream, this time with M's father willingly deciding to go get euthanized too. Again, cheerfully packing a bag, giving his rationale to us. What the fuck. Then it all turns weird. Those bits are slowly fading out of my memory. But I have a feeling the first half of the night is going to stick with me for quite some time.


Back to reality: the tumor in dad's lung has grown. The chemo hasn't worked. A new drug and protocol were started yesterday, but odds of it holding back the disease are minimal. There is no fix anymore. There will be no remission, simply a buying of time. I left work early last week and went to spend a few days with them. To hear the doctor say it myself. To see how my dad would react. To help get things in order. Finances, directives, powers of attorney.

Fuck. Just fuck.

I didn't cry while I was there. Not once. Because I am the one that handles shit, you see. So the tears come when I don't expect them. In the car on the Turnpike, in the shower, while making dinner. Typing.


It was actually a really lovely visit if you ignore the reason I came in the first place. I took mom out of the house to drink good beer and eat fried pickles. I perched on the couch and let my dad explain the nuances of The Y*ung and the R*stless that I was clearly missing. Oh, he slept with her, oh I see. Oh she thinks that's her sister but she's really not.....ok, got it.

My dad joked and laughed and didn't take offense at things. Our relationship would be very different if there were 70 other years like this. But this is where we are now. And unlike in my dream, right now dad is willing to do anything to buy himself a little more time. So a new chemo started yesterday. We'll know fairly quickly if there is a benefit to it or not.

Meanwhile, I knit the hat that he requested. What color? "The color of hair."

Ok, dad. You got it. Whatever you'd like.


still life angie said...

Oh, honey. The crying everywhere but there--I get that. I am just so sorry.

You capture your father's quirks so compassionately and lovingly in this post. I know I am not always so generous with my dad, but there are some things, his idiosyncrasies, and ways of being that make him the perfect him. The hair colored hat sounds kind of amazingly perfect. I love you. Your family is in my thoughts.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

This is such a rough place to be in. All I can do is abide with you. And send over a beer?


Mo said...

oh m, I am so sorry about your dad. sending all of my thoughts your way.


dana said...

I am so sorry about your dad, sorry y'all are going through this. keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

Carla said...

:( - very sad post......sorry to hear this is happening....sadness and grief can be so painful....thinking of you.

Nadine said...

Sending you and your Dad lots of strength today.

Ps, I have nightmares too, vivid ones, always the same. They shake me up.

Silver said...

You poor soul - those dreams do sound awful. And I hate the way that the aura of a bad dream hangs about for days - and it's one thing if they're the kind you know have no basis in real life but quite another when they serve to highlight the tough stuff that's really going on. Hugs!

Nicole said...

oh my. That is a very intense dream.

So sorry to hear about your father. I am sending you good thoughts and vibes for these tough times.

Danielle said...

Oh, M.

So sorry. So sad to hear this. So wishing there were more I could say or do. Sending love your way.

Annie said...

Frick! I hear ya about the tears. When alls quiet on a drive home. Beers soon please!

Clare (smiling scar) said...

Oh M, that sounds so so rough. The only joy i had in reading this was that you and your dad are having a nicer time together. But better late than never really never tastes sweet. It is better, but a very bitter sweet better. I agree with Still life.. you really do capture a few quirks so compassionately and lovingly. I was so touched reading this.

Hugs hugs hugs. I'll be thinking of you. Let me know if I can do anything... anything at all.

Good luck with finding hair color yarn. Good luck with every thing...

Sue said...

I'm so sorry to read this news, but I'm glad you got to have a nice visit with your father. I know he appreciates everything you are doing for him.

Two Shorten the Road said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. :(

Monique said...

I'm so sorry, M. Wishing there were more to do and say. Sending love your way.

Hope's Mama said...

Sending all my love and stretchy for the journey ahead.