Saturday, October 13, 2007

Difficult Day

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. I suppose it was the coincidence of mom's birthday and the third week of dad's death. Or perhaps it is just the time that has elapsed now. Or maybe it is something else I have not considered.

I did not want to exercise and I did not want to work. I could not concentrate and I could not focus. I felt alone and isolated. I was silent more or less. If anyone had described me, and they did not because I am expert in hiding, they would have called me moody and depressed.

My brother said we were orphans now. It is true of course although usually an orphan is a child. But there is also something unsettling and isolating about losing both parents to death even as an old man. Having parents a long time does not seem to compensate for their absence.

Then I've apparently moved into the role of patriarch of our little tribe. The steward role is more comfortable but maybe only because of familiarity. Still the transition is neither automatic nor simple. Strange that it is easier to do what dad would want than to figure out what I want. And the doing is still a problem regardless which is chosen.

Full time husband is different than part time husband. Another transition but with at least as much joy as adjustment. Today is my first Saturday to spend the entire day here except for one quick trip this morning.

The business is complex and difficult. I think the easy part may well be behind us. I wonder if it will be as rewarding when the struggle is more intense.

Today upon my return I stopped by the cemetery as I never made it there yesterday. I stood there amidst those I love. I wondered as I wrote that whether I should use the past tense. But I love them now. That's the problem really. Love is continuing from past to future. That's why the missing them is so intense when they first are gone. The missing feeling diminishes with time. I know that from experience. The love does not though. It remains but I think becomes stronger or at least more mature or more something.

The worst feeling though I am dealing with right now is guilt. Intellectually I know it is unwarranted. Spiritually I know it is unfounded. Emotionally though it is present. It is stronger now than it has been. I don't know why. It is not a new feeling of course as it was present during the entire period of caregiving.

Guilt is an actor in a little movie that runs in my mind. Each time I lost my patience and each time I made the wrong decision and each time I was unprepared and each time I ignored the obvious are all there. And in the little movie I fix one thing and the movie runs to the end and dad dies. And the next time it runs I fix another thing but he dies again. It does not make any difference what I fix or how patient I am or how prepared I am or now quickly I respond, the result is the same.

But this will not last too long. I've visited this place before. I suppose it is good that I know this place because the first time around it was a terrible visit and it lasted much too long.

I am not sad at all most of the time but this post must make it seem so. But that's not the case. I am quite happy in fact - which actually can be another source for the guilt to exploit.

But there are good days and bad days and that was true before and it will be true tomorrow.


rilera said...

Flinty, I'm sorry that yesterday was hard. Hang in there and be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to feel your grief. You are in my thoughts.

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Oh, Terry, I could relate so much to the movie clip you presented. I truly hope the guilty feelings leave you soon, because you are right...the end result would still be the same. You did everything you could possibly do and you were a wonderful caregiver. ((HUGS)) for a better day tomorrow and forever.

Lori1955 said...

It seems like something happens 3 weeks after our loss. Perhaps that is when the numbness wears off and we begin to truely feel.

I know that feeling of being an orphan too. I remember feeling like that when mom died. I don't think that we ever out grow the need for parents. Of course it also puts us in the position of we're next.

~Betsy said...

I'm sorry you had a rough day. I don't know what it is to lose a parent after caregiving, but I sure do know what it is to lose your dad. For me, the grief comes in waves when something triggers a memory. It can be something big like a birthday or just drinking from his favorite glass. There are no easy answers to deal with it - sorry.

Go easy on yourself with the guilt. I think your parents would be proud.

Hang in there, Terry.

SKYGIRL said...

Oh Flinty....I find this endearing in a way Terry...I am so sorry to hear you are hurting. And I feel a little silly now, thinking "Maybe this will be a breeze for him?" "All this expectation of sadness, and grief, was just an illusion, on my part?"

But no, it has got to be sad, and you are a kind & caring Man, so sader still! I haven't lost either of my parents, but had better grow a thicker skin! I can barely stand the loss of People, I have never met?

I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds routine, but truely my heart breaks too!

I had a rather profound experience at Church tonight. I'd like to hear your take on it. I've posted it on my Blog, just as soon as I could.

Good Night Flinty!

nancy said...

you described beautifully what i've been feeling for some time now. thanks for putting it into words for me. it feels good to know i'm not alone.