Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trying to Hold it Together and Failing

I realize that pregnancy makes you hormonal and makes you cry more easily than normal, but I am really, really struggling with what is happening to my dad right now.

I am a daddy's girl and have been as long as I can remember. We have always been very close. He is the person I would always go to for advice. I always told him everything, and I do mean everything. He helped me through many tough situations. And we always loved the time we got to spend together, even if it was every day.

My dad is the kind of guy everyone likes the second they meet him. He is very caring and genuine. He has a special way with people, and I have tried to model myself after him in almost every respect. I do for my daughter the things my dad always did for me. One of the most loving things he taught me is to check in on my daughter every night before I go to bed myself, just to make sure she is still all nice and tucked in, and to give her one last kiss for the night and tell her again that I love her.

I could go on and on for days talking about my dad and what a wonderful person he is, I honestly could. He means the world to me. I've told my husband from the beginning that when my dad goes, he is going to have a mess on his hands.

I don't really want to go into details because it could take forever to write out, but my dad is in a bad place. Due to his recent knee surgery and all of the trauma he has been through with the meds they have had him on, a trip to the ICU, and having to reopen his knee to remove a blood pocket, his Parkinsons has progressed at a rapid rate. In the span of only a couple of days, he went from being coherent to being incoherent, unable to speak clearly, and unable to hold conversations.

I was able to pretend it wasn't happening for a while because I am 1300 miles away and not watching all of this happen. I had to pretend it wasn't happening because if I admitted it was, I was going to fall apart.

Well a couple of days ago, I had no choice but to admit it was happening, and I fell apart. I'm still falling apart.

I spent all day yesterday trying not to cry, and failing miserably. I scared a lot of people around me, because they thought it was something to do with the baby, especially my good friends who knew I had a bleeding scare on Friday and had stayed home from work on Monday because of it. So when my best friend came over to check on me first thing yesterday morning and I burst into uncontrollable tears, she thought the worst. So did my boss when I shot him an email asking to talk to him. I was and still am a mess. We're talking about MY DAD. I can't handle it. I can't.

I went into my bosses office and told him what was going on just so that if I needed to go home on short notice, or he saw me sobbing my eyes out, he would know why. He has been so good about it, and has told me we can work with whatever I need to do. I had talked to him when my dad was in the ICU about a month ago and told him that if I was still working there when my dad goes that I fully expect to lose my job because I won't be able to function enough to work for a long time. That is not an exaggeration.

There are so many things about this situation that feel like they are the worst part, like the fact that I can't understand my dad when we talk on the phone. I try so hard to pay attention, but I can't understand him, and it kills me. I know he is trying so hard to speak clearly, and I know he is frustrated. I just can't believe this is happening to my dad. And I can't believe that we can't get him back. A week ago he was fine, and now we are losing him mentally.

According to all of the tests they have run on him, he is perfectly healthy, which makes this whole thing even worse because it means only his brain is unhealthy, which means he could go on for years in this state.

We have a family trip planned to Disney Land. All of us kids, our spouses, and our kids are going to be there. It was going to be a very rare occasion for all of us to be together in the same place at the same time. I don't remember the last time we had everyone together. But now my dad can't go. And our trip has turned from being a wonderful family outing to being a trip where we get together to talk about what to do about dad. We're not going to cancel the trip because we all need to get together more than ever now.

All of this just kills me. This is so very difficult.

I took Little Bean trick-or-treating tonight, and tried not to cry the whole time because all I could think about were all of the years my dad took us kids trick-or-treating.

One thing I always wanted for Little Bean that I didn't really have, was to know her grandpa. My maternal grandpa died when I was 2 or 3, so I never knew him. My paternal grandpa died just before I was 10, and I have wished so many times that he had been around longer because I had followed in his musical footsteps and would have loved for him to teach me to play and to be proud of me and the scholarships I was awarded for it. I didn't know my grandpas very well, and I've always known I missed out.

My husband's dad left the picture when he was little, so there is no grandpa on that side. Little Bean already lost out there. But at 3, she is never going to know the wonderful man my dad was first-hand. Sure, I can tell her all about him, and parent her the way he did me, but she will never know that man. And that completely sucks. It breaks my heart. It is totally unfair that such a wonderful influence on her life has been taken from her before she got the chance to really know it. All she is going to remember, if she remembers anything at all, is how my dad is now and will be for the rest of his life, and that is brutal to me.

I can count on one hand how many times I have cried so hard I literally thought my heart was going to tear itself apart from the pain. Coming to terms with this is one of them. How do you deal with this kind of grief? I'm not going to have to say goodbye only once, but many times over. I am going to have to watch my dad slowly slip away mentally. I don't know how people do it. I don't know how they handle the pain.

Nothing I have written here even comes close to expressing the pain I feel, or any of the emotions I feel. They can't even begin to convey how much my heart aches thinking about all of it. They are just words. Worthless words. But I write them because I think one day my children should know how difficult this was. So that they know how very much I love my dad.

I have a doctor appointment next week, and I plan on asking if I can fly home to see my dad next month. I am afraid she might say no because that would make three times I will be flying in two months. I wouldn't worry about it too much if I hadn't already had two bleeding scares with this pregnancy, and if I wasn't considered high risk. She might tell me its okay to go, but she might not. All I know is I need to go see my dad.

I don't know how to end this post, so I'm just going to end it. Its late, and I have to work tomorrow.


Life Happens said...

I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I will keep your dad in my prayers. I hope that the dr will clear you for flying so you can go be with your dad.

I wish I was there to give you a hug. ((Hugs))

Heather said...

This is a really hard thing to go through. My dad had stroke after stroke and it took him away mentally and physically. It stripped him of his cheekiness, it made him unable to communicate how he used to and it changed his personality. It was a slow process, each stroke making him worse. So I kinda have a feel for how you are doing right now. Its tough. Its even tougher when you're a daddy's girl like you and I. I did (and I am sure you will to) go through quite a period of grieving when dad was still alive-you are forced to let go of who they were and accept who they now are but it really helped me to think of it in terms of 'this is a brain injury and not who dad is' so I was able to hold onto what an awesome dad he had been and forgive him his anger and frustration and (quite frankly) new and bizarre thought processes.

Its not going to be easy. You have already begun to grieve for him and you'll grieve again when he passes away. And you'll grieve for years afterwards. That's ok, its just a sign that you have had an amazing dad and you have been an amazing daughter. I'm always here if you need me. xx

Fran said...

I have no words, I just want to send you my love and support from afar. I'm hoping the situation may reverse a little once he settles on the meds. Don't loose hope just yet. And for the bleeding know I know how you feel. Much love, Fran

Alex said...

I'm so sorry your dad's health is failing. This has to be so hard. I really hope the doc gives you the clear to go flying, as you really need to see him. Sending prayers your way, and to your dad.

Leah said...

I am so so so sorry for your dad's health, and the pain that you feel. I think the amount of pain you are feeling is in direct proportion to the amount of love you feel for your dad. Please know that I'm thinking of you, and sending up a little prayer. I obviously don't know the details about your dad's health or parkinson's disease, but I work for the world's largest medical device company, and we have deep brain stimulation therapy for parkinsons. It would be worth looking into, and feel free to email me if you have questions. I'm not even sure he would be a candidate, I'm just trying to think of options.
Hugs coming from MN.

Melissa N. said...

There are no words in situations like these that are adequate or that will ease your suffering, so I will just say that I am so sorry that you are enduring this pain, and that you and your family are in my heart. I hope you are able to find peace and are able to spend as much time with your Dad and family as possible. Take comfort in each other and take care of yourself and that growing miracle in your belly. Hugs to you!!

Journey Girl said...

Unfortunately my friend, I know what you are going through and my heart goes out to you. I miss my Dad every day. My only advice that I can give is to not look too far ahead and take each day as it comes and above all else cherish every moment with your Dad. I'm so sorry you are going through this, I've been thinking of you and praying for your Dad. xxoo

Barb said...

I'm so sorry. :( Went through this with my Grandfather.

Caffeinated Mama said...

I'm so sorry hun, I wish there was something I could do. ((hugs))