“Empty” Nester in Reverse

My Sponsor tells me I work really hard and need to be kinder to myself.  Things take time, “Life on Life’s Terms” can be a hard thing.

My Dad

I think I have talked about him before.  He is 78, and all my life my Mom would say, “You’re just like your father!”  That was even before their divorce in 1987.  I am like my father.  Some might say he is an alcoholic, some might say he is a dry drunk.

Now I have to say, he is in Hospice and he is dying and my heart is broken.

One of the reasons I even GOT sober was because I saw him aging badly at my uncle’s (his brother) funeral 3 years ago, It stuck in my head. I thought, “If I am just like my father, I don’t want to be like THAT as his age.”  Dad has prostate cancer, spinal stenosis and Alzheimer’s.

Dad is a Type A personality.  Before a series of heart “events” in the 90’s, he drank Dewar’s.  A Scotch guy all the way.  Lots of it.  In fact at one point his wife (who doesn’t like me AT ALL), mentioned something to the effect if he had not “done something” about his drinking they would no longer be together.  So he stopped.  I don’t believe he ever went to an AA Meeting, but I don’t know that for sure.   Certainly, knowing the type of person my father’s wife is, I can imagine me thinking, “Well, if you were in my life, I would drink too.”  ~Classic alcoholic excuse.

Fast Forward

Last Friday, my phone rang and it was a number I did not recognize, I had just hung up from a client call and wanted to get some notes down, so I let it go to voice mail.  A few minutes later, I checked my voice mail and it was “Broom Linda” – my father’s wife.  In a very “Sir-ly” tone she told me some news and without rewriting the words to you all- he is now in Hospice Care.

This was not a surprise to me, tho I have not spoken to “Broom Linda” in a few years.  My Dad has been in a Nursing Home and I have been sneaking in to see him, so I saw how things had been going. He was stable until he got pneumonia that landed him in the hospital for a couple weeks.  And now, it has been determined there is nothing further that can be done.  He is alert, he can speak, he isn’t very mobile, but the next infection will probably do him in and the Doctors are not sure that this last one is completely cleared from his system.

She told me this even though our last conversation ended with her telling me that the next time I would hear about my father, would be in the paper-in these parts that means the Obituaries.  After she had finished, I thanked her for her kindness in telling me this news and that I appreciated her thinking of me and I meant it.  We were cordial.

Now What?

I have called his Hospice Team and learned that we are weeks and maybe a few months away from his demise. Unless there is an infection, then all bets are off.  Since that call, several relatives have contacted me and we have replayed the feelings and the scenario over and over. Broom Linda does not really like any of us, so we all have that in common.  But none of them is as close to him as me.

I am going to see him tomorrow.  Spend some time while he is still lucid, see if he is frightened.  We always can talk- even when it is about real stuff, I just want to be there to listen if he wants to speak,  while it is still possible.

I have read the third step prayer over and over.  I have a copy with me in my wallet.  Please if you are a person that prays, pray for us.

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