Western education 2013

Saturday, November 19, 2011

.... the escape plan....

..... my Dad is looking better, feeling better and is planning on having me assist him in escaping.  The people on the floor where he lives, as far as he thinks, are all trying to take his things and they gather in his room and sit on his furniture while crowding his personal space.  I begin to straighten out his laundry which is folded but placed every which way in his closet.  He leans in and describes a hat he has had for over 70 years.. he wore it as a student and it is threadbare - I know he has that vacant far off stare.  His lucid moments are peppered with memories of long ago and places far away.  His friend Tim died, he says, as he looks into the distant past over my shoulder and fingers a vest.  He went to school with him and although he was 5 or so years older, the man died a few weeks after their last evening of drink and laughter.  I am trying to guess the man's age but Dad says he thinks he was 60.  He snaps into focus and within minutes.... he is gone again talking about Tim dying a lonely death.  He says he hasn't much time left.... figures his own end will come in a few weeks and although he is not afraid to die, he doesn't want to leave without Mom.  (Tim was the son of the head master and was about 5 or 6 years older than Dad. He passed when he was in his early 20's to mid 30's at our best guess)

Mom is a tough subject these days.  I let Dad talk to her on my cell phone on my last visit with him.  She admits to me that she loves her newfound freedom and takes full advantage of the time by being out for most of the day.  She is finally free after 3 years of being his caregiver.  She also didn't do a very good job of taking care of him and is quick to point out all his flaws.  My mother has dementia and has delusions.  Her lies and truths have no distinct boundaries.  She is beyond reproach and has no guilt that Dad is far away and feeling isolated.  She has lost empathy and respect for him years ago.  Her upbringing was incredibly harsh and one rife with punishment.  Her lies in her youth would often protect her from punishment and as far as my sister and I can tell, she has become incredibly proficient at deflecting responsibility and blame for anything.  I am sad for both my parents - born into the war years, victims of the war and of the parents whose harsh and unbending attitudes altered the course of their own ability to raise their children.  I am grateful that I have not repeated history in the raising of my own children.

I am trying to move Mom here in the spring.  She will have her own apartment with assistive care as soon as we can sell the farm house.  She has a lengthy wish list of what she wants in her new life should she decide to move but no where do her plans involve her husband of 50 years.  She does not want to live with him and is considering whether she will visit him at all should she move here but that is something we will deal with later.  She called me tonight and spoke for over an hour.... she wants to be with me and the children and is trying to sort out her stuff for an early spring move.  She is grateful that we are looking out for them and she thanks me for taking Dad out and keeping him company through the week.

I am taking the high road and just spending time with my Dad trying to reminisce about times I know he would remember.  Such a lost soul who really though that everything he was doing was what his family would have wanted.  Growing up in a boarding house with nuns certainly taught him that having a family might mean he would be valued and loved...... I am sad for him and I love my father.  I sit with him for hours laughing about the silly things that happened.  He thanks me for the wonderful memories as I walk him to the dinner table.  He reminds me that he will have his bags packed and ready to go.... he needs to leave and get back into the military.  Perhaps I can take him downtown too.  They have sent him here and he is waiting for his orders.  Dad, just enjoy the R & R.  Dear God, please be merciful and let him forget the things that bring him such painful memories of a life he did not deserve.  I love you Dad, sleep well.  Tomorrow I will pick you up for supper so you can spend time with the Grandkids. xoxoxoxo

I received a call this morning November 20th from the care nurse.  Dad has spent a tearful and restless night.  He thinks his wife is dead.   Lorna cannot seem to lift his spirits and has decided to call me.  I speak with him and let him know that Mom has been on the phone with me last night talking about her dinner out with friends.  I assure him that she is fine, just a little forgetful and I can hear the sadness start to ebb from his feeble voice.  She's fine I tell him again as I remind him that I am coming to get him this afternoon for a lovely walk in the neighborhood and dinner at our house.  He is looking forward to the visit and I sign off with a 'see you soon Dad'!!

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