Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You expect your life to go on. To change. To age in some capacity. You know, like the things they ask you to come up with your senior year of high school that you'll be doing in 10 years. So you have a concept of yourself and future times.

But you don't necessarily accept that is what will happen to those around you. We all hear ourselves as the narrators of our own stories, and in our story don't we all expect to be the exception to the rules? We face our mortality, but don't we really just expect to make it through some loophole at the end?

There's a part of me that expects that and more. That my husband will fit through the same loop hole and so will my parents and my children. That we'll all escape the inevitable death at the end of the story.

I wonder if when you get to a certain age if you start to see the loop get smaller and smaller and suddenly disappear. If that is when you face and accept your mortality.

I wonder this because in conversation with my father, he brought up his expectation that he will die of Alzheimer's.

I immediately pushed his assessment through my loophole and said he was crazy to think that. There'd be signs already, wouldn't there?

He said he's seen signs. Things he can't remember that he used to be able to. Little things, names and such. He had support for his future diagnosis. His biological parents had both died of the disease as had several other biological relatives. He took it to be a biological certainty.

Sure, he does cross words to push it farther into the future. But he takes it for an inevitability.

It came as a complete and utter shock to me. My father is the organized, competent, independent type. He never needs much of anything from anyone. He'll accept help; he just doesn't need it almost ever. He's sort of on top of his game all the time. As in, if he died in an accident, I would expect to be able to walk into his house and find a file in a very logical spot that had every detail of everything I could ever need to know. There's also probably a second spot like a will that has the information too. Just in case I don't get the file.

But the only reason I ever think of this is because of a freak accident that will never happen. I fully expect my father to live well into his 90s and to be operating and full tilt the whole time. As in running AA functions and organizing other people's lives and gardening and going to the opera and hitting on men in the 30s and 40s via the internet.


When I was a baby, according to my mom, I would crawl to the door when I heard the sound of my father's car. I can't imagine that there may come a time when he not only won't enthusiastically be cheering on my every move, but where he will not even recognize a move as mine. Not know my face.

I'm a freakishly strong person emotionally. But I draw that from somewhere. At least in part it is from the rock solid foundation of my father. I've always assumed I would be the one to care for my father when he one day needed it. But could I handle that? With the carpet of bedrock pulled out from under me?

I think I'll go back to staring at that loop hole for now, and avoid dealing with problems I don't yet have. After all, there could be a cure or drugs by that time. Right?

1 comment:

Lora said...

It's horrifying to think that anything can ever happen to your parents. They are supposed to be strong and well and reliable and steadfast.

And then one day they aren't.

And it scares me to no end.

So, I'm working on making these years the best damn years I can with them. So many friends have lost their fathers recently. The regret they have for not being closer or nicer or more open with them is unbearable. I don't want that to be me. And that's why I'm trying a little bit harder these days.
I can't control the future. The illnesses and accidents and what life throws at our family. But I can control what I do right this minute.

Hugs to your dad. I'm sure he's terrified. Hugs to you too.

Love you both