Bittersweet

So. For the past four years every trip back to see my parents has been bittersweet. Despite my dad’s declining health, we always manage to have a nice time, being there, helping out. The past year has been different, since we’ve now crossed over into territory that grows more dire by the month, then by the week, and sometimes by the day. Now, whether I’m with my folks in Flint or whether I’m keeping in constant touch with them from Seattle, there is a portion of me that is always jacked up, sad, freaked out. It’s a harrowing experience for us all. I’m trying to be better about sharing what’s going on with my friends, but it’s hard. I’ve found that so many people are desperate to comfort me and the way most everyone knows how to do that is to offer advice. I don’t know why but this is something that seems almost universal and unfortunately it is something I just can’t bear to hear. Please, I want to say, don’t tell me what I should do. Don’t tell me your opinions about how you think it should go, how I should handle it. Don’t tell me what you think my regrets will be if I don’t take this or that course of action. It is so subtle, this pushing from people who care about me. But it’s there, all the time. People can’t seem to help themselves. It makes me want to just keep it to myself. But, then I miss out on all the other support I could be getting, I guess. I think I just need to tell people when I can’t handle the advice. It’s hard to do, but I have to, I think. Right? Telling people what you need is good. (Hey me: say that last sentence again, and then repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat).

Anyway. I’m working on that one.

I got an email from my friend Maddie yesterday. It was kind, and caring, and thank the baby Jesus in a manger she didn’t make any suggestions. She even made me crack up a bit, which is always appreciated. She’s great. All of my peeps are great, advicey or not, and I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful cow. I have people who love me and that’s what counts. (Say that last sentence again and repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat).

When my dad is able to be home and isn’t in too much pain, there’s nothing he loves more than sitting in the sun (just like his daughter). Most of the week this week he was in a hospital bed, and while I helped my mom with things, Nordic Boy would sit next to his bed and monitor him while he slept. For hours and hours, Nordic Boy sat there as my dad went in and out of sleep, so that he never had to wake up alone.

For the short time my dad did get to be at home, he asked to sit in the sun. I got him out into a chair in the yard, where we saw that Nordic Boy had taken a much-needed break by lying in the backyard hammock and taking a snooze. When I looked out the window later, I saw that my dad had somehow dragged his chair from the deck onto the grass and was sitting next to Nordic Boy as he slept. I’m not sure why he did this, but he did. Just to be close, I suppose. Nordic Boy slept, and my dad kept watch. This role reversal was so sweet, I just sat at the window and watched them. I love them both so much.

Say that last sentence again and repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

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7 comments

  1. I don't know you but I've been reading you for a while. Your post touched me in ways I can't explain. Sending you hugs… So glad you got to visit with your dad. And that he came to sit in the sun.

  2. I'm so sorry friend. And I'm glad you got your afternoon in the sun. Also… totally hear you on the advice. People want to be helpful and supportive and instead they aer pandering and patronizing. But they don't know and we can't tell them. It's hard. Not as hard as what you are going through though, but certainly the icing on the cake.

  3. Ditto to this comment. It says exactly what I had intended to say:" Anonymous said…I don't know you but I've been reading you for a while. Your post touched me in ways I can't explain. Sending you hugs… So glad you got to visit with your dad. And that he came to sit in the sun."

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