Sunday, July 17, 2011
Chapter 4: My Father's Apocalypse "Roses to Weeds"
Mom comes to my house and cries. She has days when I know she feels as if she just can’t do this. She feels overwhelmed and she comes to my house to drink coffee and cry. Sometimes she does this while I am at work, and my ever patient husband tries to comfort her the best way he can, or he just gives her space to be alone on the porch with a cup of coffee. She always tells him not to tell me, but of course, he does. Mom fluctuates between being upbeat and proactive, to feeling guilty over how angry she gets over my dad’s repeated questions. Questions she has answered a hundred times. Sometimes she just has to leave and be alone. Sometimes she needs me to go grocery shopping with her so she can vent. Sometimes she cries, sometimes she’s mad, sometimes she’s that sixteen year old girl in love with Jimmy Coley. She has no idea how to help my dad. And she has no idea how to help herself.
At this point she is reluctant to let others outside the security of her immediate family know about dad and his Alzheimer’s. She tells people he is just having a difficult time with PTSD. The social stigma is something she can’t deal with yet. She doesn’t want people to start patronizing my dad, or talking to him as if he is a child or worse, stupid. And they will. Once people know, they will treat my dad differently because they won’t know how to react to him, and they’ll be embarrassed by their ignorance and frozen by their fear. They’ll either ignore my daddy or treat him like he is an imbecile. They will talk at him, around him, through him, but not to him. So, my mom carries the burden and the secret and the self induced shame. I have tried to tell her to go to support meetings, but she is not ready for that yet, and I can’t push her past what she is able to handle emotionally right now. My mother is becoming a very fragile woman in the face of an uncaring illness. Her strength is way down deep. I only hope she can pull it to the surface in time before the fragility crushes her strength. My mother is a rose who must become a sturdy weed if she is to survive this intact.
Posted by Liti