Life is an unending succession of learning. People come into your life and sometimes it’s, “What the hell were my lessons supposed to be in all THIS?!” Hopefully you figure it out so you can let them go and carry on with life. But sometimes the people who come into your life are the ones with a lifetime of lessons for you because they’re your parents. The past couple of years the lessons thrown my way have been confusing and difficult; life’s version of tragicomedy. Thank goodness for my dark-humor gene that keeps me going when life is less than fun.
My dad. My dad gives unconditional love. No matter what you needed; whenever or wherever…he was there for you. He never judged you even when you did really stupid stuff and, just like me, he has a wicked sense of humor. My earliest memories of him embrace his gift of music. He would play his guitar and sing in the upstairs hall when we were wee tots trying to go to sleep. I loved listening to him sing. Our camping adventures always included him & his guitar with music & singing around the campfire. Good times. I respected him a lot while growing up.
I remember the first time during a post college conversation when I thought, “Wow dad, you’re a really intelligent man but I totally disagree with you on some of your views.” I have no idea what we were talking about but I laugh now at how I felt; with my disillusionment that my dad was no longer ‘perfect.’ It’s good to let your parents be human with flaws…which brings me to the current life lesson. Parent’s become elderly and ancient…roles get reversed, even if you go into it kicking and screaming like a two year old.
I was still raising my own kids when it started. The ancient’s mental age seemed to regress. At one point it felt like they were the same age as my teenagers. They needed guidance but were stubborn with my sage words of wisdom. Advice they should be following but not doing. Thank god my kids had already taught me how to let go of the people you love. It’s their life and their life lessons. It can be painful watching them learn the hard way but…it’s their life, not yours. I’m a strong believer in consequences and what they can teach you. My dad’s refusal to take care of himself for health’s sake has ended him up in the hospital, long term.
The steady decline of his physical & mental health has been nerve-wracking to say the least. I did not and do not like the role of being parent to my parents; much like the early years of parenting when you want to pull your hair out. Thank god for Gary. He tag teams with me and when I’m ready to have a meltdown he takes over so I can decompress or cry. I had a hard time accepting that my parents are no longer the people who raised me. It was a hard lesson to learn and move on. Yesterday I learned another valuable lesson.
My anger at my dad has been transferred to the medical personnel that don’t know how to fix him anymore because their drugs no longer work. As a natural healer, I want vitamins & minerals put back into a body that is probably deficient at this point of a necessary balance for a human body to function properly. That won’t happen in a hospital. Natural remedies could heal what the drugs can’t. They don’t do natural. I can’t do anything about it so I have to let go. It hasn’t been easy, it’s been painful. I don’t want to be angry anymore with the man my dad has become. I still love him. I finally realized that after a lifetime of taking care of his large family, he wanted to be taken care of. The sad part is, the route he chose is killing him…slowly. I’m no longer angry with him. I’ve had time away while other family is taking over so I have breathing room to think…and let go.
I love you dad. Thank you for all you’ve taught me.