My dad is sick.
But what’s really…got me thinking about it a lot…is the fact that my dad is acknowledging that he’s sick.
My dad’s standard answer to the question of how he’s doing is “maintainin’.” For my entire life, no matter what he was facing, no matter what is going on in his life, what challenges, what victories, you ask him how he’s doing and he’ll tell you he’s maintainin.
His mother has dementia and he’s her primary (sole) caregiver. How are they doin? “Maintainin’.”
About two years ago I think, my dad was diagnosed with Diabetes. He didn’t want to tell me. I asked him how he was doin then–“Maintainin’.” And ever since, you ask him and Diabetes is like scurvy or something–something that may have been a big deal a long time ago, but really, just really isn’t now.
I don’t think my dad is maintaining anymore though, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to think or feel in this situation, or what I’m supposed to do.
I called my dad to ask him for some gas money (this was before I was whining to my mom about the same thing) and he told me that things were kind of tight because he hadn’t gone to work in a couple of weeks. Instead, he’s been spending his days going back and forth to doctors’ offices, he told me.
He’s been passing out at work.
But of course because he’s my dad or maybe just because he’s a dad, he still downplayed even that as much as possible, saying that he thinks it’s just his medication acting up.
But I don’t believe him anymore because he called me the other day and told me that he wouldn’t be able to make it to Thanksgiving because he didn’t trust that he would be able to make that long drive without passing out behind the wheel. And he said that he wouldn’t even be filling me in so much on his condition except that his lady friend, D, told him that her mom had been dealing with something similar and her mom ended up dying and D always felt a little upset that her mom never confided in her about what she was dealing with and so D had no warning when she died.
So he’s warning me.
What am I supposed to do?
My plan was to visit my grandparents (his dad and his dad’s wife) because they’re getting older and you don’t want to miss opportunities to see loved ones, especially as they age. But now my dad is getting worse and I don’t know who to visit. I guess that sounds silly when taking in the gravity of the whole situation, but that’s like all I can think about right now–who am I supposed to visit for Thanksgiving this year?
Sometimes my friends ask me about my dad because I never talk about him. I don’t know–it’s just not really my habit. He lives up north, we talk about twice a month on average. I didn’t really grow up with him, but I didn’t necessarily grow up without him (not the way some people grow up without their fathers, anyway).
….there’s not really a lot to talk about, I guess. Growing up, my dad’s participation in our family was…sporadic, I would say. And I’m in no way trying to paint him any type of villanous color–I think my parents’ relationship was just kind of complicated. Plus, they were married with two kids by 21 and 22. That’s a lot for that age.
I was most angry at my dad when I was 13 and he moved from the current state we were all in to the state his father lives in without telling me. For some reason that really cut me deep and I cried over it for a long time and then I didn’t cry about anything for a while.
And then when I was maybe 15 or 16 he started really, really trying to be a part of me and my brother’s life again. And he’s been consistent ever since. And at first I was still mad, but after I reached and passed age 20, 21 and 22, I began to understand.
And I don’t even know what point I was trying to make when I started talking about my relationship with my dad.
All I really want to know is what do I do in this situation? Who do I visit for Thanksgiving?