Thursday, August 30, 2012

Papa Negri and Me

So here's the deal. Right now I'm sitting in front of the TV next to my father watching some crappy Jean Claude Van Damm movie. I don't know if that's how you spell his name. I'm not Googling it. JCVD - that'll work. Anyway, for most of the month of June and today so far I sit with my dad and help take care of him. As you know, he can't move much, not even enough to answer the phone or change the channel on the TV.

All this being said, the past year has made me feel like mentally like a middle aged person. I've had intense, emotional conversations with people double my age as we both relate to caring for a deteriorating parent. People my age sometimes get uncomfortable and unsure of how to react when I say that the hospital was trying to force my mom to put my dad in a home.

I hate when people say that life is unfair. I would use that phrase in this circumstance flippantly, without really thinking about what I was saying because of what my entire family is having to go through, and pecifically for my father's situation. He made sure to exercise every day up until his stroke at 87 years old last September. It's not that life is unfair, it's just that things happen. Sometimes those things that happen suck hugely, but it's not a matter of fair or unfair. I try not to think about things to deeply with my dad because when I do, I get really upset.

Literally as I'm writing this my dad motioned for water. I'm not allowed to give him any because he could choke or it could go straight into his lungs. I found a root beer lollipop. That should help out. He loves root beer.

Sometimes I feel like there's a huge weight on my shoulders to take pressure off my family (especially my superhero like mom), help out and just to make my dad happy, to give him motivation to keep fighting and to be happy. It's not pressure from outside people, but pressure from me. Sometimes I feel trapped by the whole situation and I've felt that way my whole life. I see many friends I know living in other countries or spend semesters abroad and really see the world, but I've never felt like I could do that. I always felt almost handcuffed to my family, like if I leave, it could be the last time I see my father. Even when he was healthy, I thought I would regret leaving because I'd have missed out on so many memories with him.

It's a strange feeling to pretty much know with almost 100 percent certainty that your father will be gone when you're 40 years old. In many ways, I'm living life full out now. I'm doing everything I want as if I have the same debilitating problems he does, afraid I could lose anything and everything at any moment. I'm afraid when I lose him, that's what it'll feel like. I'm a handicapped 90 year old trapped in a 25 year old body. All the physical mechanics of me work, but I've been through a lot at a young age.


  1. I remember your dad running alongside the school bus every morning and waving to you... he was always smiling. :o)
    It's got to be hard having an older parent, but he really stayed healthy for a long time. My mom lost her father when she was 39, and he was only in his 60's. Be thankful you've had so much time with your dad, a lot of people don't get that (my dad actually lost his father when he was 7 years old).
    And I think you're stronger than you give yourself credit for. I've been through more (mentally and emotionally) than I care to think about and most days I feel 100 years old, but I know I've got lots of good years left (God-willing! lol). Whatever comes, you'll get through it.
    Okay, I'm going to go call my dad now...

    1. Yeah he was always running! Everyone would be like - hey aren't you that runner guy? :)

      It can be really rough seeing someone slip away, but you're totally right. It's just great to focus on having him now. He's an awesome dad!