I feel like everyone I love and cherish is either driving their car towards a cliff or driving their car straight into my soul.
I feel like everyone I love and cherish is either driving their car towards a cliff or driving their car straight into my soul.
One might think that having your father outside your home dancing in Native American Pow Wow fashion would be uncomfortable. Or perhaps begging your father to eat. The reality for me is that right now is boring. It’s uncomfortable.
My father does the exact same routine everyday.
E .V. E. R. Y.
D. A. M. N.
D. A. Y.
This means I get to live through the same day everyday.
He mutters perhaps two or three sentences each day that aren’t coaxed out of him. That’s it. Every other minute is watching T.V. or eating. I can’t get him to do anything unless we have to go out for an appointment. He did ride with me today to Petco. He stayed in the car. It’s a start.
I feel like I’m just complaining, but please note that I am not. I’m fascinated by this and albeit sad and sometimes mind blowing irritating, I’m not complaining.
I’m fascinated by the fact that for three weeks straight my father will eat waffles for breakfast. Then for another few weeks he’ll switch it up to scrambled eggs and a piece of toast. Same for lunch and same for television. It’s all or nothing with him. Routine, routine, routine.
It’s really rather boring. I made a choice to leave this past Saturday and take my daughter shopping. I left him home alone. He called me once to see if he could let my dogs outside and one other time to tell me he can’t find the spaghetti I put in the fridge. He actually said, “Well I see spaghetti, but it’s not on a plate.” Okay dad, really. That’s your spaghetti and I’m sorry I didn’t do the entire process of food on plate for you.
This is why I decided to leave and spend time with my daughter.
Filling in the rest of the day is shame. Lots and lots of shame. For some reason I’ve been thinking about a situation I was in when I was 14. I was on vacation in Florida. I got inside the elevator to go up to our condo. There was myself, two guys probably in their 30’s and two other young girls my age. The elevator broke down. I can’t remember just exactly how long we were in there, but I can tell you that it was a long time and something horrifying happened in there.
One of the young girls started crying and long story short, it turns out she was going up to her room because she had to poop. Yep, I just said that. This was like 30 years ago, so no one was in a damn hurry to get us out of there. It got to the point that we were all consoling her and telling her we understood. I mean, she really had to go. So she did. Literally.
I’ve been thinking about this lately because it’s one of those awkward moments in life that just by weird chance I was part of. I don’t know that girl, couldn’t tell you what she looked like, but I can remember what happened. I wonder if she remembers us… I would be willing to bet she remembers all of our faces. It’s probably one of the most vivid, horrid, embarrassing memories this person has of her adolescence.
What a strange thing to compare my father with, but that’s how my brain works. I feel like when I look at my father holding his hand over his forehead, he’s thinking about all the times he’s shit in his pants. Figuratively.
As a small boy, you’d walk around the house creating stories. Dressed to the nines with matching pajamas, slippers and the toys to go with their theme for the day. Neat. Clean eating. Bedtime regime, without parental guidance.
It’s like you knew who you were already. Sitting in the recliner watching television upside down. Drawing, upside down. Crowds made you scream. Water frightened you. You were and are eccentric. A spy maybe? Or maybe someone who just likes to view the world a little differently. From within.
You lost a friend when you were young. His death was tragic and even more so since it was by his father’s hand. I felt a piece of you leave Earth after that. I’m so sorry.
Your talent in art is nothing short of incredible and I hope someday you will let the world see it.
Your mind is photogenic and always learning. Without you, I’d never know Mike the Headless Chicken ever existed.
I remember a day that I was snuggling with my soon to be husband, Joe… the one you called Joe Mama. We were in our own little heaven and you walked by us and said quietly something I won’t share. I’m keeping it. It was then however, that I discovered your talent for dark humor and I got you. I get you. I love you.
I started counseling. I’m on my third counselor. The first woman sent me to another counselor she felt best suited for me. That’s okay, she had a mullet and I can’t take that seriously.
The man counselor always sat with his back arched in his extendable office chair with his hands interwoven behind his head. He grunted a lot. I think he used to be a linebacker. I need a softer touch.
My new counselor has a huge office. All the furniture is Mid Century modern in the softest shades of grays and blues. The Kleenex box is inside another fancy box and I actually think she uses the real deal-Kleenex with lotion. Ahhh.
She asked me to practice gratefulness.
Okay-I have to admit to something. Yesterday I was in the yard pulling up weeds and just piddling around. I had this idea to be grateful for finding a four leaf clover, only I never did.
Then I realized I was doing it again… I was trying to control. I was even controlling my own gratitude based on what I specifically thought I should be thankful for. What a power struggle inside my mind.
I took a moment to readjust my brain and lay on the grass for a moment in the sunshine. I said silently to myself over and over, “I am thankful for this peaceful moment and for having my own yard to have this moment in.”
I’m getting there.
I’ve been pretty silent lately. I haven’t felt like writing or much of anything, if I’m being honest. Ever since my Aunt Tammie committed suicide, I’ve been in a slump.
Then there’s my father. He got out of the hospital on Feb. 3rd. I was still down in Tennessee helping deal with my Aunt’s affairs when he was released. By the time I came home he was pretty happy I’d made it back. I was pretty happy that he was back.
I’m possibly going to sound completely as if all my empathetic ways have been torn from my soul; but I promise they have not been, nor am I about to give up. However, as of late my father has turned into yet another character I must walk on eggshells around. I’m completely feeling as if now I’m the one out of control at times. I can’t even make a damn salad.
Two months to the day he was released from the hospital I found myself sitting in a soft leather chair in front of my father’s new psychiatrist. Just that morning my father had decided to start talking. He’d apparently decided also that he’s ready to drive his Jeep three hours on the interstate. Next week my brother is flying in from California and dad wants his Jeep there so he can “run errands”. Errands for what? Not to be rude, but there’s absolutely no reason he needs his Jeep not to mention the danger this means.
As I witness my father being unwilling to wear proper shoes around the house, come near to falling, have dizzy spells and shake his spoon as he’s trying to eat, I wonder. Wonder why he thinks he’s ready to go from 0-60 just like that. I spoke my mind about it prior to the appointment. Now in the appointment I stayed rather quiet until the end when I mentioned the driving. The psychiatrist agreed with me. This wasn’t fitting to my father’s liking. He asked if he could possibly be taken off some of his medicine. Here we go. Again and again like the revolving doors I always expect to malfunction and rip a toenail off.
Once we got home, I was met with questions of why I had moved him into my house. Why did I not think about mowing his yard, his income taxes, his homestead exemption, his this and that and this and that. For reason I am just not willing to delve into, I’m not going to explain why all of these questions are maddening other than saying… someone at one time in the past took advantage of my father. So badly in fact, that he doesn’t even own his home. That’s right… it’s not even his. So how is that my fault?
Somehow I feel as if it’s all my fault. My father told me that he wants his independence back and he’s thinking he may just want to move back home. I told him that unfortunately that really blows for me considering I left my job to care for him. All he could say to me was he thought I was crazy for that and you know what, I guess I was.
I responded by explaining to him how much better his life is with us. How his diabetes is under control, his cholesterol is back to normal, he eats healthy, we’ve sacrificed for him to be able to say those things. He shrugs and says he’s sorry I feel that way. Feel what way? I haven’t sacrificed? In a little bit of anger I blurted out that it would be nice to hear a thank you to us for all we’ve done rather than demands. He shrugged again. I never got my thank you.
So here I am wondering why I am a caring, loving daughter? Why do I give a shit?
So let’s wake up tomorrow and see where we are heading… cause it seems like every few months I have a new father. I wish he could understand the world and his place a little better. How frustrating he is. How unpredictable life with him is. I wish that he would just say thank you. I wish mostly that he knew he is loved.
My father died once. No really… he did. He committed suicide. I received the phone call at work one afternoon 5 years ago, that he had passed away. Thirteen minutes later I received another call saying he had made it after one last shock. My father is still at risk. My Uncle Dennis died by suicide. Now my Aunt Tammie. I have called 911 myself on two people due to suicidal threats. I myself have spiraled into a dark place once upon a time after my son was born.
Why am I being open about all of this? Because you matter and there’s always ALWAYS another alternative to death…Because someone reading this is probably depressed. Reach out to someone. I’m available anytime.
I’m struggling a little with the fact that I’m already angry about my Aunt’s suicide death last week. I still cry when I think about it, but I’m leaning more towards anger now.
This was not her first time to attempt and statistically speaking, she had the odds against her. However, I didn’t really realize that.
She had a history of sending a Manila envelope full of instructions upon her passing. The person that received it in August just thought she was getting her affairs in order. I was scrolling through her Facebook page and although this photo is from 2011 not 2017, my heart sank. My face filled with rushing red shame.
Level of Suicide Risk
Low – Some suicidal thoughts. No suicide plan. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
Moderate – Suicidal thoughts. Vague plan that isn’t very lethal. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
High – Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
Severe – Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she will attempt suicide.
You can look at my father and you can see his depression. You could look at my Aunt Tammie and never know. You’ve heard this before, be kind. Be kind to others because you never know what is brewing inside.
My mother knows not to send me texts saying call me ASAP because she’s done this before to me. As I would panic and call back, she would start talking about randomness. I finally told her to never do that again. I assumed someone had died.
So, when those words came onto my screen I knew something was wrong for sure. She couldn’t even speak when she answered and finally my step father told me that my Aunt had committed suicide.
I had to head to Tennessee, so the doctor decided it best to keep dad for the rest of the week. My husband is taking care of it all for me. What a blessing that I have a rock.
My mother has been an emotional wreck, but at the same time she’s found her strength and we’ve pushed through the past couple of days. My brother lives in California, but he called and texted and did what he could. We both tried our best to support our mom through her sister’s death.
Tammie, my Aunt, was a beautiful person. A beautiful person with a lot of inner turmoil. She functioned. She smiled. She worked, albeit the past few years it was sporadic and she struggled. I’m talking about an educated woman who made great money. She owned her home outright. She knew how to handle herself and had street smarts. She had horses. She had beauty. She had friends and family who loved her beyond the moon.
We have no letter from her. No explanation. Was it just that bad and for how long? Did something happen to set this off? Why? Why did you do this? She knew she was loved and that’s all I can keep telling myself.
I can’t help but wonder how many people I know suffer in silence. I hope you know, I care.