Dear God...not again.
I thought I had finally started to get over the pain of loosing my beloved Gramma this last St Patricks Day. Those weeks of hurry up and waiting, the false sense of security...it's all rushing back now.
I had just settled into work tonight and my Dad stopped by. Well let me back up for a minute...
A week or two ago, Dad called me while he was on the road. He told me about his loads, his layovers, all the usual things we usually chat about. Then he asked me about our family Dr's office hours. I told him what they were and then I asked him why. Well I guess during this trip out, Dad had been having some odd things happening. Like ya know how when you go out in the bitter cold, then come back in how your face will tingle afterwards? Well apparently he's been having that sensation all over for no apparent reason. Also when he moves suddenly, like bending down and then raising quickly, or any quick movements, he's getting a woosy light headed feeling. I didn't think too much about it at the time, especially since his symptoms are so vague. He also mentioned there were a few more things but he didn't go into detail. I don't push my Dad, he's alot like me, if he wants you to know, he'll tell you. If he doesn't tell you, there's usually a reason for it. Dad and I know this about each other, and we respect that about one another.
Flash forward back to earlier tonight...
I was chatting with my Dad about what him and his sidekick E had been up to. They had been moving stuff from one farm to the other, and piddling about. I asked my Dad if he'd taken that leave of absence he'd been talking about. He started kind of shifting his weight from one leg to the other and told me he hadn't but didn't know when he was going back to work. I guess I must have had a quizzical look on my face, because he proceeded to tell me that he'd went to the Dr last week and they didn't know what was causing his symptoms. They took blood for tests, but until they got the results back, wouldn't know much. Dad told me he should have the results by about 10am tomorrow.
I'm worried. I'm anxious. I'm kicking myself. I'm angry. I'm...so...UGH, the list goes on and on and on, ad nauseum.
The last 10 years Dad and I seem to have drifted apart. I'm unhappy about it plain and simple. I know, I know, children are supposed to go out into the world on their own and live their own lives. Parents are supposed to stand in the wings, silently supporting their children as they make their way down their paths, offering snippets of advise here and there, lending their support as we raise our own children as they watch us struggle with the same things they struggled with just a few short years (or decades ago, whatever the case may be.)
Thirteen years ago, my Dad met his current woman J. I have to admit, I wasn't impressed with her then, and now after 11 years, I'm less impressed with her. Part of that due to the fact her husband (yes she was still married at that time), part because she was horning in on my turf, part because well ummm, errrr, she's...rough. REALLY rough. I don't mean that in terms of a diamond in the rough either. The nicest way I can think to describe it is gold digging white trash ok? I tried with this woman, I really did. She dug her own hole with me based on two things. First one was when Dad pleaded with me to just talk to her about her husband, thinking I'd see her justification for what she (they) were doing. Ok fine, I did. Well I asked and she informed me that her husband had suffered a stroke a few years back. She had stayed in their home for awhile but her stepchildren had made her life hell, questioning everything she did, her and their father's decisions as to his care, ect ad nauseum. Well knowing how snotty some kids can be to stepparents, I let that slide. Well considering all of her family was back her, and how miserable his kids were making her, she bought a new mobile home, and moved it onto her Mom's property while her husband was in the nursing home undergoing his rehabilitation. Once he was as well as he was going to get, she moved him here with him, and realized how much work it was taking care of him. She took him back to the soldier's nursing home he'd been rehabilitated in, and readmitted him. I could somewhat understand her reasons of how hard it was to maneuver him around for baths and such, no problem. I was starting to understand where she was coming from, even feel empathy for her over the situation until she said..."...and ya know, I just didn't want him dying in my new trailer. How would I be able to live there if he died in there?!?" I couldn't help it, I was appalled to say the least. He had taken care of her and her spawn (which are a worthless bunch, lemmie tell ya) for YEARS, and this is how she repaid him? Throwing him back into a nursing home because his possible death in her new TRAILER HOUSE? That did it, I threatened her life. I told her IF her and my Dad lasted, if she EVER attempted a stunt like that with MY DADDY, I was going to make her step children look like saints. Well of course she had to go crying to Dad about how mean I am. When I told Dad my side of the story, he tried to admonish me, but I could see the pride in his face for setting her straight about my expectations about how my Dad should and will be treated. A mere 3 months later, she was demanding she be put on my Dad's checking account, and I first went to my Dad with my concerns. He heard me out and asked me not to go ballistic on his new girlfriend. I tried not to, but well...it didn't work. I again set her straight on her position with me, in MY family. Giving up my Dad to another woman...hard adjustment for me. Things were going to hell with my husband, and I needed a constant in my life. My Dad had always been my constant, the one who picked me up when I fell, the one who told me to get back on that horse and learn from my mistakes. Dad and me, Me and Dad, through all those years of hell with my Mom, we'd stuck together, made it through to go on with our lives. Him restarting his in his 50's, and me just starting mine in my late teens with a baby and an unreliable husband.
He moved in with her, and hour away from me. From living 100 yards from my front door, to an hour's drive away. It happened gradually, he'd come in off the truck and go to her house instead of his or mine. Then after time, he couldn't' see the sense of keeping two households. So he just started just going to her house. I'd catch myself watching my Dad's house out the window, just staring, wishing, hoping they'd have a massive fight and Daddy would come home. It never happened. His trips home became less and less, as the property we all lived on at the time is/was jointly owned by my Mom and Dad. Mom had been snooping around about this woman, and found out everything that she'd told me, and then some. When Dad was around with J, my Mom would go berserk. J felt threatened as my Mom was/is more attractive than she is, and Mom felt threatened and was kicking herself for loosing my Dad. My Mom doesn't loose gracefully, even if she makes an ass out of herself while trying in vain to win the loosing battle.
Over the course of time I accepted that Dad loves J, and I'm going to have to share him with her. Do I like it? No, not at all, but I accept it. If for no other reason, my Dad deserves to be happy. If J makes him happy, well then, by damn I'm not going to stand in the way of that. J has her good points as we all do, but let me put it like this. I will be nice to her for my Dad's sake, I will get along with her, but if it wasn't for my Dad...well she's not at all the kind of person I would be associated with due to different outlooks, interests, and educational levels.
Anyways, over time, Dad went his way with J, and I went mine. Dad and J were both there for me when I threw my former husband out. They have been there for me during the good and the bad since then. When they've had their troubles or needed help, I've been there for them to the best of my ability. That's just what family does. My Gramma raised us that way. We don't have to particularly like each other all the time, but when it comes to the wire, we'd better be there for one another. That's what family does, no matter how much time or how many miles try to stand in the way.
I'm still close to my Dad, I always will be. Nothing will ever change that. Soon he will be living within 15 minutes of me again and that can't come soon enough. There is one striking difference this time though. While to a certain degree I want it for myself, I want it more for my children. Over the years, my children haven't had the opportunity to get to know their Grandpa. J has some great nieces that stay with them off and on and while those little girls certainly deserve the undivided love and affection my Dad gives to them, so do my children. At 3 & 4 those girls have spent more time with my Dad then my kids ages 15, 13, and soon to be 6. That makes me angry, sad, ashamed. I won't take all the blame for it, as it's just as much my Dad's. I also blame J for being such a spender. If she'd cut back on spending so damn much money on just "stuff" for having stuff's sake, my Dad wouldn't have to drive that truck so stinkin much. It's my fault as well for not taking them to see my Dad when he's home, but if you saw their home, you'd fully understand why. Let's just say it this way...you have to make your way through paths through the "stuff" and you can't tell what color the flooring is supposed to be. 'Nuff said.
I guess I'm still kicking myself for not spending as much time with my Gramma as I think I should have before we lost her. I'm also kicking myself for not insisting that my kids spend time with their Grandpa, for not making it happen. In short, I'm kicking myself for a whole lot of things now that it's in my face there may be something wrong with my Dad.
I'm also scared I might loose him. I know it's probably unfounded and premature, but nonetheless, I'm scared...terrified even. I just lost my Gramma not even a year ago, and now... this. They say fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all. I never believed in that until now.