How Can I Help You Say Goodbye
I have been staring at a legal pad, wanting to write, for the past hour. I have several things to write about or thoughts to jot down but nothing seems to come to me once I grab hold of the pen. The last several hours have been difficult. I have gone from being in a good mood, to being in a mixed state, to feeling psychache, to feeling really sad and depressed. I am stuck in the depressed phase right now.
The movies of my father’s last hours keep floating around. Then I have the memories of the doctor appointments, hospital visits, visits to his home the last few months. How quickly he declined. There was no warning saying he was going to die when he did. In April, the prognosis of death was definite but we didn’t know when. They gave us a few weeks to a few months. It really wasn’t until two weeks ago that they really told us a week or less. And it was less. I got the phone call on April 19th his kidneys were shutting down and by the 25th, he was gone. Nothing more could be done for him, I got to keep telling myself that. He wouldn’t have wanted heroic measures, such as a feeding tube, to prolong his life. He lived a long life.
I don’t know why this is affecting me. I didn’t think I would have a reaction to his death. That may sound callous but he wasn’t the loving and dearest man on the planet. Up until he got really sick, I despised the man. I couldn’t stand being around him. And the night in the ER where I spent 12 hours with him, just for him to go against medical advice really pissed me off. And there was no point in arguing with him once his mind was made up. I remember wanting to write about the narcissism. But I couldn’t because everything that I read about it just pointed to him.
His being gone is making me sad and I have no explanation for it. I certainly didn’t prepare for it. But who really prepares for the death of a parent, whether they were good or bad? I think the good ones do their best to try and ease their children’s pain. There is a song that is by Laura Branigan about how a mother tries to ease her child’s pain through life’s disappointments and departures. The song is called, “How can I help you say goodbye”. My father never helped. He just made fun of you or smacked you when you had child’s disappointment and sadness. He would give you something to cry about.
I once had him on a pedestal. I think all children idolize their parents no matter how bad they are treated. That pedestal came crashing down the night he threatened to take someone’s life. My world was crushed. I no longer wanted to live in this world after that. It was way too painful. And when my father was told I wanted to kill myself, he kindly told me to jump off a bridge. Emotionally, I had to cut myself off from him. It didn’t happen overnight. But I became numb to his behavior towards me. He used to pick on me the worst of my sisters. He made fun of my weight, what I ate, how much I ate and the like. It’s amazing that I don’t have an eating disorder because of him. I just didn’t care. Psychologically, I know that it was the attention, no matter how negative it was, I was looking for. At least he was paying attention to me in his warped way.
He died surrounded by the only family he didn’t piss off, his daughters. Though there was a point where he thought my youngest sister and I were out to kill him. We should have known then that he was off or that his liver disease was getting worse. Yet no one thought to run an ammonia level on him. Hindsight is 20/20. Maybe if we had controlled this blood level, we could have prolonged his life a little more, to give us time to deal with his death a little better. I don’t know. I really thought he would live another year, tops. I had no clue he would have this downfall. And he was a pain in the ass until his mind was gone.
The grief is hard to process, there is no denying this. For those that read this blog daily, I need to write about this. I spent 40 years dealing with a narcissistic parent that spent more money on himself than for his kids. People have told me he loved us. I know that he was proud of us because he would show us off like we were his trophies. He carried a newspaper article that was written about me when I was in the eighth grade for years in his wallet. In addition to a picture of himself when he was 20, he also carried a wallet size pic of the three of us when we were younger. I think I was no more than eight in the picture. He would show it off when the three of us were at his doctor’s appointment.
I don’t know many people that carry pictures of themselves in their wallet. They might have pictures of themselves on their phones, but not their wallet or purse.