Family Business

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Well it has been an interesting day.  Doing the three hour drive up and back is no fun.  Add in the hour to get the hospital to see Mom and the fun of dealing with Dad for a day and I’m more than a little worn out.  But, given the events of the day, there was clearly a need for someone to be there.

I do appreciate your responses.  Because you aren’t conversing face to face, social media is a double edged sword.  People can say the most mean and hateful things for no reason at all and stuff they would never be brave enough to say to someone’s face.  But, you can also get words of encouragement from people you’ve never met and that’s a good thing.

I was very vague in my message to my group before I left.  I had to tell my boss what was going on but I have not informed anyone else.  Why?  Well, it is easier to do online because I don’t have to deal with the responses.  I’ve found in situations like this that you get one of three basic responses:

  1. Genuine concern and caring.
  2. People who blur the line between caring and prying and start asking for a whole lot of details just to satisfy their own curiosity or because they are the type who have to talk about everything and just assume everyone else is the same way.
  3. People who use your story to share their own “helpful” experience.  Like “Oh yeah, my grandma broke her hip and she died a week later.”

I can deal with #1 but I can’t deal with the others so I’m keeping it vague and private for now.  Just how I roll.  Except for the internet because – well just because.

Got to warn you that I’ve got a bit of a mad on right now.  Mostly at the powers that be.  And not really because of my Mom but what life has done to my Dad.  Now, Dad was never the touchy feely Brady Bunch dad.  He was a college professor so he’s used to lecturing and not really talking to you.  He’s opinionated, stubborn and more than a little arrogant at times.  He used to be full of useless facts and trivia because he read everything he could get his hands on and just seemed to want to assemble a large storehouse of facts.

I see him now when life has mostly robbed him of his vision and kept him from the activities that he loved and that he is now mostly a scared frail person who wants to remain independent but is totally freaked out by losing control and by the fear of being left alone.  I could tell from his reactions that he still loves and cares for Mom but a lot of it is just fear that she’ll go and leave him all alone in the house with no one to take care of him.  I see him now and I feel sorry for him and the one thing I know about my father is that he would NEVER want to be pitied.

So I have a real difficult time believing this is part of some master plan or there is some grand lesson to be taken from this.  No, to me, this just seems like a cruel and vicious joke that a evil bully would play on some kid.  What possible good is there in life turning him into this.  Better to have died years ago before things started to go downhill.  Sorry if that sounds morbid but I can’t see any silver lining in this.  It is just plain mean to take a man and reduce him to this.

I’m also frankly a little pissed at my parents.  We all understand and respect their desire to stay independent and I know they’ve all raised us to be as self-reliant as possible but that doesn’t mean you let things get so bad because you’re unwilling to reach out for help.  Neither one of them was eating right and that is going to make Mom’s rehab that much tougher because she’s lost so much strength in her arms and she’s going to need it to get around on the walker.  I get a little bit of guilt for not seeing this before and intervening but I guess they had to have this crisis to see that they need help because now they are not balking at all when we start talking about getting senior services involved.

Unfortunately, these last two days convinced me that I can’t do this for an extended period of time.  I can help from here but I can’t put my life on hold to help him out.  I’m not capable of dealing with that.  The fear and anxiety got the better of him today and I only have so much calm to try and hand out.  Like I said before, I’m running on empty right now.  He was all set to have me drive him to the hospital because she didn’t answer the phone and a nurse didn’t call him back in the stated one minute.  Turns out there was a perfectly logical reason for what happened but he’s still too used to wanting to be in control and wanting to give orders and have them followed.  It probably makes me a failure as a son but it is what it is.

So where we are now is that Mom is supposed to be transferred to a nursing/rehab facility today where she’ll get extended physical therapy to help her manage moving around with the walker.  The good news is that it will be in town and he has friends who can take him to see her and she can call out (the hospital was a long distance call so she couldn’t call him which was another source of anxiety).  And, my younger brother is taking the next shift to get senior services set up.  We can get someone in to do laundry and cook and clean and maybe even drive him over to see Mom.  She’s the one who broke her hip but he’s the one who needs all the help.

She’s determined to work through this although her COPD was acting up today and I think it will be tough but she’s also got some stubborn in her so I wouldn’t count her out just yet.







  1. Oh, gosh, Wall. I’m sorry you are suffering so much right now. I know from experience how hard it is to watch one’s parents decline.That Dad is difficult makes that even harder. Hang in there. The only thing you can count on is that everything changes.

  2. You have so much on your plate right now, and I’m sending you (((hugs))).
    I don’t think you are a failure as a son. I think you’ve become a damned fine son if you can have the patience to get through that moment with your father without giving in to him. It tells me that you might have a little bit of his personality in you (😉), and that he has succeeded in raising you to be independent 😊.
    Don’t forget to take care of yourself while this is going on, because if you get worn down you are no good to anyone–not even yourself

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