Crying at Barnes & Noble

I’m at the B and N at the Galleria, in the space that used to be a restaurant, but is now a place to socialize and get some work done. My plan was to come here after dinner to catch up on some things and start writing again. And, I’m doing that now, but I’m not in the headspace I was hoping to be in. 

Prior to coming here, I called my Dad to say hi and catch up. He informed me that he was missing some of his dentures. What? How? He typically puts the top set in one glass and the bottom set in another glass and sets them by the kitchen sink. I asked if he wanted me to stop by and take a look and he said ok.  This is HUGE that he said ok because he usually defers my help when I offer it. 

When I got to his place I realized that he had put both sets of dentures in one glass. Everything is fine, the crisis adverted. 

But I am a mess because it is very difficult to see my dad age, knowing there isn’t much I can do to help him. 

My dad has gone downhill quite a bit in the past few months, and all I want to do is save him, which I can’t. My dad is one of the kindest people on the planet (when he isn’t drinking) and he is also the most stubborn person I know. He refuses almost all of our help, although I think that’s starting to change just a little bit. Since Covid, he has allowed us to pick up his groceries and brush off his car for him. When he asks us to do this, I feel on top of the world. I would do anything for my Dad (but I won’t do that. Just a little Meatloaf humor. Anyone? Anyone?)

He will not let us take him to get his hair cut. He now cuts off chunks of his hair when they get too long which is both hilarious and sad at the same time. He won’t let us take him to the eye doctor. He won’t let us take him to church. He won’t let us take him to the doctor after he’s fallen (twice) in his apartment and has blood coming down his face and arm. He refuses to use a cane, even though it would mean that he could go back to singing in the church choir again. 

I’m (we, because Paul is a part of this, too) are doing everything we can to respect his wishes. My dad and I have had a strained relationship for a large chunk of our lives and I don’t want to do anything to strain that relationship anymore. I know that if I push him on anything, he will stop sharing with me. And so, I mostly stay quiet. 

Tonight I asked if I could start coming over once a week to help him out and he said YES. (Thank you, baby Jesus!) I am hopeful that he and I will both start feeling a little better about all of this once we are checking in more often. And maybe, just maybe, he will let me clean up his gross apartment. 

All this reminds me of my Mom. My mom didn’t have the privilege of growing older as she passed at age 65. I didn’t get the honor of assisting her as she aged and now I have that opportunity with my dad. I want to call her and vent and get her advice. I want to ask her how I can trick my dad into caring for himself and how I can get him to eat even if he “isn’t hungry.” 

I have this dream in my head that he and I will get to hang out together in his (clean) apartment, watching TV and eating junk food together, and he will still sing in the church choir and be able to drive, and we can bring Snow over and they can snuggle. But I think I need to let that dream go, and start dealing with reality. And the reality is that he said YES. Yes, I can come over once a week and help him. And this feels good and happy and hopeful.

I’m not crying anymore. 

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