To Sit With Reality

Being a teacher, I tend to share about education, but I haven’t been to work since the 2nd of November.  My dad recently died of bladder cancer.  Today was my first Thankgiving without him.  He didn’t carve the turkey or have one major role.  He was that voice in the background talking to the kids, reminding someone to do something, complaining about the TV, or opening the pickle jars.  I miss him so much! Those words of wisdom coming from the other room…

 I started the school year like any other year, teaching by day and being a mommy by night at my parents house.  We are building.  Then mom and dad were in and out of the hospital.  Mom usuallly, but not dad.  Dad was sick but would not go to the doctors.  He just watched tv and over time realized too late.  Dad couldn’t take care of the dog, my son did.  Dad couldn’t pay the bills, so I did.  Moms car broke, so my husband fixed it.  Dad needed chemo and the list went on and on.  I started spending my mornings and evenings preparing medication, listening to nurses talk about my dad like an object.  Focusing on quality of life and precious time.  I was up at 6am and down at 1-2am. Soon, I was helping him, a 6’2″ man on and off the potty.  Emptying his urostimy bag and wiping his mouth after meals. Don’t forget I got mom too.  With dialysis, oxygen, and issues with major nose bleeds.   I did this for about 2 months while teaching, and caring for my own family. I couldn’t, who can?

I ended up having a mini mental breakdown due to all the stress, hence the time off. I am 35, have a husband, 2 kids, living with both parents since we are building a house and both my parents are sickly, but dad was dying.   

And did… I did get to spend a lot of time with him at the end which was nice.  I was the only one with him when he passed.  That was the first time I had ever seen a human being die.  I will never forget it.  On one hand I my honored to have had the opportunity to hold his hand and be with him.  He went peacefully, but he died.  I do not want to die alone. What if i opened my eyes and no one was there.  I couldn’t have that happen to my dad so I held his hand and read from the Bible.  He never opened his eyes, but those last moments are etched in my mind forever.

Now, I am helping my mom pick up the pieces and put them together in some order.  No order really feels good.  Nothing really does, but life goes on.   My dad did not prepare well at all.  

Advice: buy burial plots, prepay for your funeral.  Have as much life insurance as you can afford. Have a will and be specific if you want certain people to get certain things.  Or better, if you know your time is near, give things away before hand.  Create a great lasting memory for that person. 

You would think all would go to mom. And we wrote a last minute will to do that, but he has two business. He has renters in his front yard.  He has a trust and there are antiques and equipment and guns and the list goes on and on.

I am a teacher, not a businesswoman or a landlord, however I am finding myself doing it because I have too.  I love my parents too much not too.

And yes, I have siblings, a brother and sister, 53 and 49.   Yes, I am 35.  They have helped here and there, but they are like oil and water…..   things never go well.  And they didn’t hang out and talk with mom and dad.  I did.  I was at the hospital til 2am.  I sat in the emergency rooms all day, Glady.  I could talk to them all day.  My parents and I were like peas and butter.  Mom and I still are.

Change is hard all in itself, but when you are thrown in the deep end with sharks all around, that don’t go away.  It seems damn near impossible to get out of bed.  But I do, I must.  I have two beautiful children.  I wonderful, supportive husband. And my mom.  I can’t even imagine how she feels.  My parents were married for 53 years.  53 years!  I just made it to 5 and it took me three weddings to get there ( a very long story). 

My brother is the hot head, quiet, individual type.  He is so angry about everything right now, but mainly my sister.  My sister likes to control and manipulate situations from afar, like a puppet master.  Usually sister wins, cuz bro can’t cool his jets.  Mom and I are on the side lines watching and keeping the peace or in the middle trying to do what is best.  And there are times when she loses it and needs her space or I loose it and need to clean something.   Greed, selfishness, and confusion have erupted like a virus in my family affecting us all.  Dad is gone.  The boss, the lord of the land, the listener, the dreamer, the knight in shining armor.

Life is really like a box of chocolates.  Some days I feel like progress is being made.  Others days it seems we are all going to hell in a hand basket.

I ask myself.  What do I do?  I need a plan.  I need a plan.  A plan gives me structure, focus, purpose.  A place to go. A goal to achieve. A reason to live. The ability to keep moving forward on my journey through life until my number is up.  

But, it’s a plan.  It changes, things get added, you move forward, things get deleted, you move back, sometimes you just stop and other times you are racing against time. 

Time…. maybe it’s time.  We never have enough of it.  We tend to waste half of what we do have.  Should I focus on time, probably not because then your not using it, your watching it go by. 

I am a teacher.  I want an answer.  The right answer. The perfect answer.  A problem with my past compulsory schooling, because there is no one answer to my situation in life.  There a millions and most are at least okay answers.  

I think I need to sit with it. Sit with my life.  Sit with my reality. I like this concept until I have to do it myself. I need not do anything but go about my current daily activities and sit with my reality.  My lot in life.  Where I am today.  My dad is dead. My family is in turmoil. Finances questionable. Some activities; funeral, burial, large family gatherings of crying and sharing have past, but the will, businesses, packing, moving, Christmas, assets, trusts, lawyers, arguing, fighting, hurt, and more pain are still to come and will last for the foreseeable future.  I need to breathe reality in and out all day.  My new reality. My new lot in life no matter how much it hurts and I hate it!  A plan will come to shape.  An answer will be found.  A small achievement met.  Money will shake out.  The sun will come up.  My son will laugh.  My daughter will smile.  I will kiss my husband, huge my mommy and cherish the memories of my daddy.

I believe that life is not meant to be easy; If it is your living it wrong.  My mom believes,”life’s a bitch and then you die.”  That works too.  I also believe I am in control of my own destiny, but I have to pay attention because I can only control my choices and reactions in the trials and tribulations of my life.

So, tomorrow I will try to sit with my grief, be mindful of my environment, and control my choices and reactions to be made in benefit of myself and my family.