Wednesday, June 19, 2013

For Better or Worse

When sadness comes into our lives it can hit us hard with repercussions that may or may not change our lives.  Last week my father called to tell me that his sister Joan had fallen in her home and would undergo emergency surgery to stop bleeding in her brain.  After surgery it was discovered that she was bleeding on the other side of the brain.  With this discovery my aunts life came to an end.  My father has been dealing quietly and lovingly with pain of his own, as my mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer,  and as if that was not enough, she suffers from dementia as well.  My lovely mother born into that generation of wives that never learned to drive a car or work outside the home.  My father got up every morning and left for work, his morning kiss his promise to be home for supper while his loving wife stayed home, fed and dressed her kids for school, cleaned house and made supper.  When her family was gathered at the dining room table she sat back listening as husband and children told her of all the things that happened in their day.
Our arrival in Spain. I'm the better looking one of the twins

The cancer is slow but the dementia is progressing at an alarming rate and because of that my father said he was not going to fly home for the funeral or to be with the few remaining members of a once very large family.  There comes a point in your life when the people you have left must be cherished before they too become nothing more than memories.  I told my father to go, that I would stay with my mother until his return.

My grandmother and mother.  I am still the better looking one of the twins

During the week that I spent in my fathers stead, I would make the meals and tidy up as my mother hovered near me talking endlessly about family and events in our life.  Often she would get names and stories confused so in order to diffuse her frustration I would change the subject completely.  She would quite often ask where my father was and I would tell her again what had happened.  Dates mean nothing to her as she has no ability to judge time or days in a week and would ask about her next doctors appointment at least thirty times a day.  I was so glad when her Friday appointment came.  The doctor and nurses loved the way she talked about her children as though we were still just little kids.  Her appointment was for the removal of 1.5 liters of fluid from her lung, a process that has been done three times in about four months.  The doctor told her that she would have to have a permanent drain put in because draining it with a needle was to risky from now on.  My mother smiled sweetly and told her that she wouldn't make that sort of decision on her own and they would have to wait until she was able to discuss this with her husband.  The doctor and nurse started to argue that they could have this done in ten minutes time and show me how to drain her lung at home. My mother never stopped smiling but repeated that she would have to talk to her husband.  I told them that he gets home this weekend and they could schedule an appointment then.  My mother looked at the baffled group in front of her and again introduced me for about the third time as one of her twin boys, saying how surprised she is that we still look so much alike.
Hands down the better looking one of the twins
My love for my parents has always been strong, my respect for my father even stronger.  The quiet battle he fights every day and night taking care of a house and its duties that he only had to come home to before.  Now he does it all without complaint and sees to his wife's needs.  A goodnight kiss their promise to be there for each other in the morning. 

10 comments:

  1. It doesn't get any easier; your father is grateful, I know.

    You weren't identical, then?

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    1. Oh we are identical but I am the better looking one ;O)

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  2. I am a twin......
    Anyhow I adore that first photo x

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    1. Thanks John,
      A twin sister, isn't that right?

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  3. This is when being a strong family is so important. My very best wishes to you all.

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    1. Cro,
      Thank you for that and it is so very true.

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  4. It is amazing where one gets the strength to cope with these situations - your father is obviously doing a great job in difficult times.

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    1. Susan, He has always been my hero

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  5. Despite the sadness it is heart-warming to read of how their love and respect for one another has endured and still shines through these difficult times.x

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    1. Thank you Elaine,
      They make good role models for the rest of us.

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