Making Peace With The Inevitable

I spend many days feeling bad about things that I cannot change. Things that I did as a child, being a follower and listening to those I thought were my friends. Not speaking up and saying exactly what I want, how I want because I’m too worried about hurting someone’s feelings – even though I’m left unhappy or uncomfortable. And for a few years now things I’ve done to my parents that I knew weren’t right but didn’t feel that way then because I was putting others first. Now, I spend my days wondering how long I actually have left with the both of them to be better to them than I was before.

I want to say it was 2020 when I got the call and found out that my father had cancer. I was devasted because I was all the way in Texas, 36 hours away and there was nothing that I could do. My dad has always been sick but not on that level. I made a more conscious effort to reach out daily because I didn’t know what could happen while I wasn’t there. I just wanted to make sure that if I didn’t get a proper goodbye that I’d be okay knowing I wasn’t careless with the time I did have. Instead of dragging you through the next few years, I’ll start here in 2022. We recently found out that his cancer has spread so, there’s that.

I noticed a shift in his overall then, but I can absolutely tell that he’s tired now. In the beginning I didn’t understand, so I automatically thought he was selfish for not wanting to keep trying to get better. But I couldn’t imagine doing everything I’m supposed to and then some and finding out that my health continues to deteriorate. At this point I can’t blame him for not caring because yes, we love him and want him here, but I don’t want him here suffering either. I know a lot of people do that for selfish reasons, and I never want to be that person so I started making [my] peace with my dad’s health sometime last year because I couldn’t deal with any more bad news. And sure, enough every single time he gets more news it isn’t good. I’m often left speechless because he may not say it, but I feel like he’s looking for some words of comfort and I don’t have them. I’m trying not to cry in his face, so we sit in silence when I get those calls. That’s already hard to deal with then to have to sit back and act like I don’t notice those who don’t really care is a whole other ball game.

One thing I strongly dislike is a person that uses someone else’s issue(s) as some sort of leverage over others. With that being said I was really offended recently when someone said to me that I (basically) have a lot on my plate, and I need to take a break because of the news I shared about my dad with them a few days prior. How do I have a lot on my plate because he’s sick? I don’t know if you understand where I’m going with this so let me further explain. He’s my father, yes. I love him to death, yes. I wish he wasn’t sick, yes. However, that doesn’t mean that because he’s sick feel pity for me. I’m not the one sick. I feel like part of what it is with someone with a mindset like that comes from the type of person they may be. They probably wouldn’t be able to live without using their parent being sick as the reason to why they’re always dragging though life and that’s no way to live. I’m not going to mope around hollering and screaming “My father is sick” every time life feels overwhelming to me or I have a meltdown. Why? Him being sick truly has nothing to do with how my life is on a regular. My day to day is what’s overwhelming so if you weren’t feeling bad for my regular daily schedule don’t do so now because I shared that bit of information with you. Also, he’s been sick since before the day I was born. So, if I haven’t used his sickness as an excuse all these years, why start now and why let others do it?

It amazes me how far people are willing to go just to be able to use someone else’s health or death as an excuse to their unnecessary behavior. That’s real sick of anybody who does that. You’re not the one suffering and you probably don’t even care about the person but because you want someone to take pity on you, you use someone else’s health as an opt out of who you are so people won’t be mad at what you do. That’s really sick to me and yes, I had to say it again. I try my hardest not to worry about that though, but I can’t let everything fly. My father would tell me to let it be but that’s not who I am. I don’t want to deal with any type of regret, so I do what feels right these days. So much so that if my father was to pass anytime soon, I’d cry from hurt. Shit, I cry from the thought alone but I don’t feel like there’s anything I need to fix or conversations I need to have or anything so severe that would make me say, “Damn I wish I had ….” because I’ve also given him every apology I feel he’s owed as well – whether he felt it necessary or not.

I’ve given you the surface me so far so let me go under the surface really quick. Every single day I wonder how long I have left with my father. This sounds so selfish, but I want him to see my kids get a little older and I know that he probably won’t be able to do that. He’s had his time with me so it’s about them now. I don’t want them to forget him. I want them to be able to remember and speak their memories out loud and not being able to grant them that 100% scares me. I think about my mother and how independent she is because I’m not going to want her alone when he’s no longer here. The issue is that’s not going to be an easy thing because she’s not going to want to move in with me. I don’t need an inhouse babysitter because I know that’s the only reason many take their parents in. I need to know that my mother isn’t alone, I need to know that she’s okay and I need to know that I can get to her if need be. I have taken a lot off my shoulders to prepare myself for whatever is to come. If it’s not about my family I do not care about it. The biggest thing I struggled with for years was this unwritten responsibility to make sure that my husband’s family had a relationship with my children as well, but my children have a father too and if he wasn’t worried, I had stop. I had to understand that I’m not the “bad guy” because I don’t want that responsibility. He has to do his part just like I have to do mine also it’s an adult’s job to make their presence known to children not the other way around. 

My father knows that I love him, he knows that I care about him, he knows that his granddaughters love him, he knows that we’re here for him. I talk to my dad more than I talk to anyone now because I’m older with an open view on life, so I value his opinion. I’m not the little girl wanting to do things her way anymore who can’t listen so our relationship is able to flow freely, as it should. My only hope is that he’s making his own peace so that his heart allows him to enjoy the here and now. Again, I’m not him so it sounds crazy expecting someone to just be happy with the unknown. Knowing what I know has helped me remove myself from people and things that I don’t feel feed into me the way that I need. I wish that it didn’t take me so long to grasp what he’s been telling me all these years, but I’m here now. It’s about accepting what is and not stressing over what could be.

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