It was just Father’s Day and for the first time in years, Danny wasn’t here.
He wasn’t here because I didn’t bring him here. It was, I guess, my call. There were a number of reasons why and they all made sense. But it was weird not having him here, and I’m sad.
Unbeknownst to Danny, he might be kicked out of the assisted living facility where he lives. They’re pretty sure he’s smoking in his room again, and they’ve given him too many second chances. This one might have to be the last straw.
He says he’s not smoking. I hope he’s right. I’d like to believe him and I’d like that to be true – for his sake. Because if they move him it will be to a nursing home, which will be even worse. He’ll have to share a room with a stranger. He’ll have no kitchen, so I can’t bring him food that he actually likes.
My uncle saw Danny the other day and Danny asked when he would be able to leave the facility. He said it was like a life sentence. My uncle had to tell him never – unless it’s to a nursing home, never.
So why didn’t I bring him to visit us for Father’s Day? Because my husband’s family was all here, and too many people here at once is hard for Danny. Because my husband’s aunt is not doing well right now, and I didn’t know how to juggle her challenges with Danny’s challenges. There’s only so much room on our side porch for people who can’t move around well. And I knew that Danny likes to sit outside alone, and that everyone else would want to sit outside to be with my husband’s aunt. It just was too much to figure out. And I couldn’t go get him anyway, and I didn’t have anyone I could easily send to get him. And it’s tough to see him, especially with what’s going on. And… And… And…
So I didn’t bring him down here, and it was hard. I’m renegotiating my relationship with him, I think. Trying to figure out how to keep caring for him while caring for myself. My daughter wants to go see him, and I look at her love for him and I’m awed. Grateful and awed. It’s so wonderful that she purely loves him. I wish I could purely love him. I do love him, but it’s so mixed up with the caring for him and the sadness for him and his anger at me.
I didn’t even wish him happy Father’s Day – because he’s always said it was a stupid made-up Hallmark card day. And I didn’t want to call him and admit to him that I chose not to bring him here to visit, even though I intend to bring him down here on a weekend when it’s just him visiting. Which he will like more anyway.
I may call him and wish him a belated happy Father’s Day anyway. Because I missed him, and I love him, and I really hope he’s not smoking in his room, and he only has one more chance. I wish I could somehow make something better for him.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
Oh honey…do not beat yourself up over Father’s Day. Who says fathers day has to be one specific day? The later visit sounds perfect. You are a good daughter. xxxxx G
Lisa, I have followed along with you in your journey with your dad for almost 10 years. I know how hard you continually work to be the best support – daughter, parent, manager – you can be.
Thank God for Al-Anon which gives us the tools of detachment and boundaries. You know you that you can’t take care of him if you don’t take care of yourself first. Ultimately he’s the one who’s responsible for himself. You can’t protect him from himself.
You are both in my prayers,
Thank you Ann – it’s true and it’s great to hear. xoxo