30 Days Of Truth: Self-Forgiveness
2010-10-01, 11:02 a.m.
recently on Chaos Attraction
30 Days Of Truth Day #3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Okay, that's kind of a slam dunk... that I wasn't better with regards to my dad's illness.
I was pretty well revolted by the entire thing. It turned him into well... someone who couldn't talk, couldn't see too well, couldn't comprehend too much. And that's not even factoring in the wheelchair and stuff I am not even gonna go into detail about. My dad was a strong person and to see him turned into someone entirely different and unalike to what he was gave me the wiggins. And I've never been good on deciphering slurred speech in the first place, but his was especially bad. I'd have to ask him to repeat something 20 times (no exaggeration) and I still wouldn't get it on time 20, and he'd get pissier and pissier at me with every "I'm sorry, Dad, I didn't understand that." So what it boiled down to was, he was a giant baby. And I'm... not good at dealing with that.
What he needed was a devoted caregiver. Someone who could utterly self-sacrifice herself, who could clean up bodily fluids with a smile, who understood what he was trying to talk about. Basically, Mom. Mom doesn't think she was so good at it because towards the end she would get frustrated and yell at him a little (and I do mean, a little). I, on the other hand, think she was perfect at it, until he got so bad that he had to go into the hospital. She visited him every day, she lovingly cooed over his bed for hours every single day.
Meanwhile, I avoided him whenever possible, spoke to him as little as possible, could barely force myself into the hospital room, and literally sat there in the corner hunched over for 3 hours every day that I went to the hospital.
I can't deny that that makes me a colossal asshole. I wasn't what my family needed me to be at the time. Okay, so I wasn't as bad as the other relatives (who would show up a couple of times a year for ten minutes), but still. They needed me to do better, to be more loving and nurturing and mature, and I couldn't do it.
The thing is, I literally couldn't do it. It wasn't a question of being unwilling so much as unable to give that kind of emotion while suppressing the bad ones I was having. (Plus there was the grossout factor.) It was hard enough for me just to get myself into the hospital room every time, stay there, and not run out. I didn't have enough strength left to coo over the bed. I also called Mom every single day (just as she has always wanted me to do my entire life since the day I moved out) for over a year after he went into the hospital. That kind of made me lose the will to live and she doesn't even remember that I did it any more, mind you... but I tried to give what I could.
I'm a heartless git, and there's no denying that. But I was giving as much of myself as I could. I was doing the best that I could at the time. I went home as frequently as I could stand to. I couldn't have done better. I wish I could have, and I still feel I should have, and what I could do wasn't enough... but well, that was the best I could do at the time. If I had it to do over again (oh god), I wouldn't have done it any better. So I really just need to learn to live with that. God knows I believe that beating myself up so that I'll shape up and do what everyone else wants is the best thing I can ever do for myself, but when it comes to this issue, there's kind of no point to doing that. Too late now.