Saturday, March 31, 2012
I'm on a mini-vacation in Carlsbad, CA which is about 500 miles from my home in Northern CA with my two elderly parents (Dad - 85, Mom - 88). They have been married 60 years (2011).
Yesterday my dad wasn't feeling all that good, so we tried to make him comfortable. Tried to get him a pill, or food, or something to make him feel better. My mother kept thinking there was something wrong with him - as if he had a stroke or something on the plan.
My mother said "its the strangest thing, he becomes more feeble and dependent."
Bottom line - he doesn't become those things. I think cognitively he is not doing well, and is unable to think critically. I think he has a hard time negotiating that bag of pills daily. Physically he's shot, his diabetic neuropathy is painful, he shuffles. He has terrible arthritis, on and on. He says all the time, "don't get old."
What HIT me about the whole situation? While we're trying to guess at what can make him happy, not be grumpy... fawn over him.... my brain had an "aha!" moment.
All of our family life has been about fawning over him in many ways. Especially these past 25 years. He nearly died in 1987, and then again he had liver cancer in 1994. We certainly didn't imagine him being alive now after those past years.
All these years of fawning and cajoling and trying to help him. It came from all the years of fawning and cajoling him when he was younger to branch out. Wasn't to be.
He HATED fish and chicken - didn't grow up eating them.
He HATED liver - didn't grow up eating that either.
He HATED ethnic foods - enough said. I could build on this but suffice it to say - he is not very worldly, and certainly not able to build relationships with anyone who doesn't eat, think and do things the way he does.
We spent our three lives (mom, sister and me) eating the way HE did so please him. Why didn't we eat to please us?
My mother & I were driving yesterday - and I said this to her. "Why did he run the show?"