Which Way is Gee

I was raised in a small farming town. There wasn’t much to do. Quite frankly, I do believe I’m right at the end of the generations that spent time outside. I walked the streets sucking the juice from honeysuckle, popping the oil on the roads, digging for crawfish and sometimes I rode horses. I remember once getting in trouble for keeping a bed of straw containing little baby pink mice that I had hidden in our shed. 

Since I am six years older than my brother, one would think I would have the better memories. I do believe he does though. I can’t state for a true fact that all my memories are correct, but I can say that I grew up as a coal miner’s daughter and that I wouldn’t trade my parents or my brother for the world. 

My grandfather was a tough man, depressed from the war. He broke quarter horses. Today I told my father about a time I was riding with grandpa standing at the barn. He was yelling horse terms at me and expecting me to know what in the hell Gee and Haw meant. I knew, but I really wanted to be doing something else that particular day. I kept telling him my saddle was loose. He told me to stop trying to get out of work. I did end up falling in a half circle formation grasping as tight as I could onto that saddle when I found myself in an awful predicament. Fortunately the horse didn’t trample me, but in a teenage fit of rage I grabbed driveway rock and threw the rocks at my extremely large grandpa. My father looked at me in amazement. He said, ” Well he never told me about that, but why would he if it meant admitting he was wrong?”

I am not one to proclaim to have all the answers. I have no idea where my life is heading, but I do know I feel it’s heading in the right direction. I’m on the right path, if you will. 

I’m tired. I woke up at 2:30 this morning to find my father in a kneeling praying position with scotch tape. He was asleep and I stood there for a little bit not sure what to do. I finally got him up and he apparently was building his office. The scotch tape was his measuring tape. We started our coffee and our day at 3:00 a.m. and now I’m tired. Perhaps he will find rest and be more peaceful tonight. 

Reflecting back on this morning, I realize that my father is forever thinking. His brain never stops when he’s in an elevated level of mood and it must be just maddening. Maddening to have all of these ideas, yet they just never quite seem to come together. For me, the maddening reality is that my father has a mental disorder. A few moments of clarity and seemingly normal social behavior here and there are a cruel thing really. The sad truth slaps me in the face and I can become present to my father’s reality rather quickly.

The past contains some great memories. I hope to keep making those.  I never thought about opening up a Red Wing shoe shop in my garage, but my father thinks it’s a fantastic idea. I mean… Who knows.

Lyrical Thinking

I do not sing out loud, it’s a fact. My ex-husband told me once that I sounded like a baby bunny being killed. Something about that made me harden. I do not allow the words to come to my mouth as a song anymore. I listen to music. I enjoy music. I even cry to music.

I’ve noticed in the past couple of days that I’ve started singing. I was doing laundry and singing “Our House” by Madness. I love that song. I think it’s because when everyone else was rocking out, I was dreaming of punk and ska and having super cool hair. Which by the way, never came to fruition. Good or bad, who knows.

My father is like a walking Jukeboxe.  He brought back a memory while he was singing Charlie Pride’s song “Just Between You and Me”.  He broke out into a song I had never heard before. He was telling me it was sung by someone good looking, but he just couldn’t put his finger on who. He said it had meaning to him and something about it just makes him feel.  I Googled it and played it.

Turns out it’s the Bee Gees.  “I started a Joke”.

“I started a joke, which started the whole world crying. I started to cry, which set the whole world laughing.”

I sat next to him as that song played and he sang along. I cried. I cried and cried and cried and cried. I let it out. He reached over to me and said, “Isn’t it amazing that I have a wonderful daughter and a wonderful son and you have me.”

Yes dad, yes.

The Feeling of Being Needed

I will admit that although I’ve lived with a Bipolar father my entire life, that I don’t know anything. A manic or somewhat elevated mood can set a fire under their ass like I’ve never seen. If they do not get help right away when the symptoms are there, you might as well write a $100,000.00 check and hand it to someone you despise. You might as well smoke and run at the same time. You might as well shave your head and go into a salon and ask for a cut and color. You’ve pretty much lost your control because they are winning and you are beneath the intellect they believe they have above you.

I think we are on night two now. I’m lost in regards to time. The first night we had no sleep. I was reprimanded by my father’s psychiatrist for allowing this to happen. Uh, how do I not allow a 68 year old six foot-ish man to stay up??? Someone, hello, anyone out there?

I did better last night. We slept, kind of. It came in spurts, but that’s better than not at all. I explained to my father that Sprite made more sense than coffee because I need him to let me sleep. He agreed that I needed sleep, but he doesn’t. He said he’d try his hardest so I could have some rest. I explained to my father that he needed to relax and stop worrying about how he was going to build me the grandest front porch the WORLD has ever seen because I don’t want a porch. “Well” he said, ” that’s your business I guess.”

I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating it is to start your day off with your Bipolar father telling you at 5:00 a.m., how he’s figured out that he should ask the neighbor if he can buy his pulling trailer. We need one for the lumber for the front porch.

It has been an interesting day to say the least and my husband is not feeling well at all. My father asked if he could mow our yard. I decided to say yes because it would help. It’s needed. I need help. My father needs a purpose.

I sat on the steps outside and watched him with the most intense look on his face. He never even noticed I was sitting there. I’ve never heard so many scrapes against my patio, my Morton building and then the rocks… I must have been hit right in the face at least ten times with flying rocks and dirt.

When he finished I told him thank you. He cried.  He said, “Sugar, it’s not an even trade, but I’m so happy I can help you.”

Human beings need a purpose.

It’s the Smallest of Things

Today I picked up my father from the hospital. It’s been decided, if you will, that he’s likely had an episode due to a new thyroid medicine that was introduced two weeks ago. There seems to be no reason to keep him they say. 

Picking my father up was probably the most depressing thing ever. There was a few women there following us around like we were movie stars. “You’re so lucky”, they would say. “How amazing it must be to have someone picking you up”, they would say.  One woman in particular cried as we were leaving. I know from speaking to her that she has bipolar disorder. I know from speaking to her that she has two grown sons who never speak to her. I know from speaking to her that she has a very lonely life. I kind of felt bad taking my dad away from her. 

When my father and I got home, he walked in and just smiled. He told me my house was beautiful and he was so proud of Joe and I. He told me that he felt so loved and never so happy. He felt home. He said, “It’s  not too late for me to be happy.”

We turned the corner around into the living room and I pointed at my shelf that was holding his high school photo. He stood there and stared at it and said through tears, “wow, what a coincidence or maybe it’s fate.”

“You got to saddle up your boys, you got to draw a hard line.”

Ever since I was a little girl I can remember my father always saying, “puuuuuuriiiiiize”. I hit the 10th floor today and found myself smacking the buzzer and waiting for the doors to unlock. 

There he was, my father, about to eat his lunch. He had no idea I was standing in the doorway. I found myself uttering Mr…. Puuuuuuriiiize. I was a little tight in the chest because I was forbidden to visit. I was told not to come there. I was told not to bother. How does a daughter ‘not bother’?

He was happy. I was elated. I’ve decided not to share intimate details of our conversations we had the 3 and 1/2 hours I was there. However I can say that he made me exercise, he explained what North North West meant, pointed out the Capitol to me, explained which lady in the lunch room was the most annoying and introduced me to every one of the nurses. I felt special yet felt my heart hurting. My father’s nurse Lisa told me that I seemed to be at ease to her. She said I looked at peace there. She asked me what I did for a living and then said, well there’s still time to change that. My heart started lifting back to its proper position after that. Lisa is intuitive.

As I was leaving, dad had me write this down. On his gravesite monument he wants etched the words, ‘Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses’.  My father loves that Toby Keith. 

Razzle Dazzle

I just woke up. Fixing my coffee in a foggy haze wondering why it was so dark outside still. Rowan and Alex, her boyfriend, reminded me it is only Saturday night and I don’t need to be heading to the hospital just yet.

Oh.

My father has been secured in the psychiatric ward in Springfield. He’s safe. He still has not gone to bed since I had him transported there at 4:30 A.M. on Thursday morning. Thursday right? I don’t even know anymore.

Joe is doped up on Hydrocodone and for the most part, he’s amazingly still “there”. Although he did tell me he wants to be a leprechaun at one point. This morning when the alarm went off at 4:00 screaming at me that it was time for another side dish of pain killers, he laid there in silence. Silence. I didn’t stir at first until he startled me with a loud “RAZZLE DAZZLE “. I couldn’t even chuckle, but I did so quietly in my mind.

The day is starting to come back to me now.  I know that my father refused my visit. I know that the nurse told me on the phone that he won’t sleep. I know that I am feeling more at peace now than I was just a few days ago.

To quote my father during his mania, “am I being clear, am I being concise, do you see my comma in my sentence? Do you understand me? Do you know who I am? Do you want to know the truth? Back to the comma… Back to the comma, back to the comma…”

Dad never finished his sentence.

I am now off to grab 6 boys and let them have some fun. Because fun is what life should be about.

FUN- back to the comma, may peace be with you this evening wherever you are.

Construction Zone Next 201 Miles

Yesterday I woke up at 5:00 as I had stated in my first Blog Post. I began my morning contemplating what the next steps should be. I was obviously worried about my husband after his surgery, but my father was surging to the forefront. I picked Joe up from his recovery room, picked up his medicine and then brought him home. 
This is when the chaos of mass destruction began. I called my father to check in. No answer. No answer for hours. I’m three hours away and no location device planted in his head. He called around noon, and we spoke for another 2 hours. Joe was by my side, drugged and loopy and yelling at me. Yelling the words “babe go to your father now, leave me and take care of him.”

I hopped in my car. I sped like there’s no tomorrow. Landing with a slide into his driveway, I found my father at around 5:00 smoking two cigarettes and dancing in his yard with his Ted hose on. He was so ecstatic to see me. Never once asking why I was there. His Jeep was still running. His music was loud and proud. He loves some Toby Keith. 

Don’t worry, I was alone but not really. Three men were just outside waiting for my cue that I needed help. That took all of about 5 minutes to sound the alarm. Dad was telling me he had just been at the High School arguing with the Superintendent because he wouldn’t let him use the PA system to announce to the world the truth. He was going to tell the world that there was no God. Now, wether you are a believer or you are not, you know this is not a sane person talking. 

He had a suitcase packed so he could go into hiding once the chaos of the world hit from understanding his TRUTH to the masses. 

Long long long story short. Neighbors, friends, my step father, my Uncle, cousin, paramedics, and police on stand by… We made it to the hospital around 9:00 maybe, I can’t even remember. I crawled into bed around 4:30 this morning at my mother’s house. My father had just been taken to be transported to Springfield. Which by the way, is almost 2 hours closer to me.

The counselor and doctors looked at me with sadness in their eyes. I know they tried their hardest to get a location that helps ease the pain and trouble on my end. Nothing compares to my father’s pain. Absolutely nothing. 

Thank you for reading this and allowing me to have an outlet. I need a huge hug, but Joe is drugged up and I’ve got a margarita in hand instead.