Let’s talk about ME some more.
One of the many reasons I quit writing was the relationship between me and my parents. No matter what I’ve written in the past, please remember they were reading. Now that they’re not, news for you: they were and are just terrible. I see people on Facebook saying wonderful things about their parents, mourning their deaths, wishing them happy birthday, suffering from not seeing them after long Covid-induced periods of time, hell, even my co-worker Penny whose mom lives in a facility, wistfully said to me, “I haven’t held her hand in 10 months.” My reaction was a private eye-roll but also an inner “What is wrong with me?”
Okay, so be prepared or trigger warning or whatever, but this is going to be a vomitorious mess to talk about. My dad, who made funny comments on my old blog, and delighted many of my readers, was doing that for attention. He always wanted to do writing that affected people and gave him praise and when he failed, he decided to try to latch on to my writing. My dad, of the funny comments, is now in a memory-care facility. He is not well. He gets confused and thinks “teenagers” come into his room at night and steal his things. He insists he was held captive in the basement of the KU Medical Center by “thugs.” He lives in Colorado (narrator: he does not live in Colorado). My mother is his mother and I am my mother and Holly is me. He makes incredibly inappropriate comments to female aides who help him dress and shower. They call me and tell me these things in indignant tones and I ask them what the hell I’m supposed to do? He can’t be the first guy with dementia to act like that. I don’t know! Don’t ask me!
We found out due to his disappearing filter than he had multiple affairs while married to my mom and that’s hard to deal with. I also think he was a lecher. I remember he often said things to me that were weird in that way, and ugh. My mother just laughs. She laughs about everything. “HAHA your father told the nurse she had a nice ass today while she was checking his blood sugar HAHA.” She always does that when uncomfortable. I hate it.
I have a strong memory of an incident that happened to me when I was a little girl. It was sexual in nature and I think about it almost daily. And I think it was him.
So anyhow, this is fun, remember when I was funny?
So I don’t go see him unless I absolutely have to. I don’t want to see him. My mother goes everyday and that should be enough for him. He was not a good parent so damned if I’m going to try to be a “good” daughter. I have shame about this, but so be it.
My mother is a narcissist. I guess I didn’t identify it until these last few years. She never considered helping my dad when he went bad. He took a very serious fall, which sped up his dementia so much I was amazed. She was angry that the ambulance took him to the best neurotrauma center in the city. She didn’t want to drive there; it was “across town” (it is 5 miles from her house). She refused to go with him to a retirement apartment where he could get his blood sugar and insulin taken care of. (He lost the ability to manage his diabetes) She continues to prioritize her social activities and her job in a “band” over anything related to him or me. From the waiting room in the ER trauma center, she called a friend to tell her she didn’t think she’d be at poker the next day.
Now I know it’s a dichotomy for me to be mad at one parent for neglecting the other parent whom I also dislike, but I do things. I advocate for him. We pay a mind-boggling amount for his care right now, and I am shocked at how bad that care is. I have made the nursing director at his facility cry. I have gotten into a shouting match with the director. I have been there in person and confronted people about ridiculous things like why he’s sleeping on a pillow with no pillowcase. I hired hospice to come so he’d have some more care and better equipment. And it seems like ALL I DO is push, and complain, and demand care, and figure out fucked up medical bills. All for a man I hate, but don’t hate, but feel like I should hate.
One day he was especially depressed and I got my phone and found a YouTube of Michael Crawford singing “Music of the Night” and handed it to him and he held it to his ear and eventually started singing. And I sat in a chair and sobbed. Because I have a heart.
It’s just one thing after another. It’s all I talk to my therapist about. I write lists of things I want to talk about, and I end up spending 50 minutes repeating fucked up things my mom says to me and my therapist defends me and tells me to set boundaries and I try, but I don’t think she understands that I’m an only child. I HAVE to do things. I HAVE to keep her from falling for scams. I have to invite her to Thanksgiving and Christmas things. What am I supposed to do, just ignore her and leave her at her apartment alone?
I have a heart. I do. I wish I didn’t. Help me out you guys.