I’m writing this at the airport as I wait for my flight to Texas in order to get my thoughts down in print. I went home this weekend to visit my dad, and I’m sad to report he isn’t doing very well.
He’s fought cancer on and off for many years now. First it was prostate cancer– that one went pretty decently and he was healthy for a decade. Then there was a mass in his bowel. That one didn’t go as well.
He ended up losing a lot of his bowel and ending up with and ostomy. And the chemo was rough.
Then there was a spot found near a hip. Another surgery and more chemo.
Then more scans and a few slow growths in his lungs.
But now his latest scan shows the cancer has spread. A lot.
He’s doing chemo again, but at this point it is basically just to prolong life a bit, and depending on below things go, he may just quit. And if that happens, we’re down to months.
Amid all of this he’s had some other health issues (degenerative arthritis, prostate issues, and now some bladder issues thanks to another surgery). The bladder issue has been giving him some incintinence issues and he’s pretty despondent, because this is his “worst nightmare”.
This. After everything else the possibility of wearing depends is his worst nightmare.
So you can imagine that the visit home this weekend wasn’t a bunch of laughs. It was mostly somber, with some tears.
This weekend was also a lot of “end of life” planning. Going to the bank to get my name on his accounts. And discussing where information is kept. And listing who to contact for help with different things. And what to do with his ashes.
Being a planner, I approached all of this very matter-of-factly. Information and plans are good. These are important and helpful discussions. And I appreciate him laying out plans and being proactive in order to make this a smooth transition.
Christ, I sound like a business exec.
Im not without emotion in all of this. I’m frustrated by him. And angry with him. And worst of all, I feel tremendously guilty.
Guilty that I’m not closer to help more.
Guilty that I haven’t spent more time with him.
Guilty that I’m upset with him for being so goddamn pessimistic all the time.
Guilty that I get angry with him for always looking at the darkest side of things.
Guilty that I’m so frustrated that I’m allowing him to give up.
Guilty that I’m not doing more to change his attitude.
Guilty that I’m pissed off that my parents didn’t have more kids to share in this burden.
Guilty that I’m so fucking selfish that I think this is a burden.
Guilty that I’m not feeling MORE guilty about being so focused on my own fucking life as his is drawing to a close.
Guilty that I’m avoiding the inevitable in favor of willful ignorance.
Guilty I haven’t cried enough.
Guilty for not loving him more.
It’s a lot to process and I am not doing a very good job of it. Mostly I am just “avoiding”. Hoping to just wake up and find everything has magically been resolved.
I hope by writing some of this out that maybe I’ll start to deal with it all.