Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trying to Stay Calm

Today Gary and I moved some of Fran's stuff into the storage unit her movers will be packing up, and then I took Dad to the VA Eye Clinic. Dad had a little meltdown about how he feels "put upon" because Gary and I haven't been spending enough time helping him pack and unpack. He pointed out that when we moved into our new house twelve years ago, he came out to help and spent his whole time helping us pack and unpack.

I pointed out that he'd come to Reno on that occasion specifically for that purpose, but that Gary and I have lives here that we need to balance with what we do for Dad. I also said, "Dad, we've been spending a lot of time helping you." And I reminded him that we only learned about this latest move two days ago, and that I'd gotten his financial-qualification paperwork delivered and had rounded up friends to help on Saturday and will be taking him over there to sign the lease tomorrow.

As the conversation progressed (over several phone calls later in the afternoon), it turns out that his main complaint is that he wants to see more of Gary. I pointed out to Dad that he really only moved into his current apartment on December 19, which is the same day Gary's own father died, and that therefore we need to give Gary some space for grieving, and Dad immediately apologized.

Meanwhile, Fran had a little meltdown too.

Emotions are running high. Dad's feeling abandoned, lonely and needy; Gary and I are frazzled to the core, and heaven only knows what Fran's going through. Dad's upset about the financial drain that assisted living will be for all of us (Gary and I aren't thrilled about that, either, especially considering the state budget crisis, but we still think the move is the best option for everybody).

Gary's agreed to go with me and Dad tomorrow to sign the lease, even though it's very early for him. He doesn't want me to have to wrestle the wheelchair into the car, since my back's been complaining whenever I try that maneuver.

Tomorrow night, Dad wants to have a farewell dinner -- takeout Chinese, which he'll pay for -- for Fran at our house. I predict that this will be a distinctly odd occasion.

But I got through the day. I wrote in my journal when I got up, and swam in the afternoon, and used a meditation technique I tried to teach Dad, of closing your eyes and imagining yourself someplace where you've been really happy. I've been drawing heavily on my memories of beaches in San Francisco, Hawai'i and Long Island! And since the weather was gorgeous here today, I made a point of enjoying the sunshine.

Mom's still in the hospital, at least until Friday, when she may be sent to a nursing home. I spoke to her on the phone today and she sounded more herself than she has in ages. I don't know how long that will last, but it was sure nice.

I've vented to several people today about Dad's meltdown. "He thinks we aren't taking good enough care of him, and we feel like we're doing nothing but!" Everyone nodded and said, "Yup. That's what happens with old people." So at least I know this isn't unusual or unexpected.

And now I'm going to a friend's house to knit. Yay!


  1. My folks had my gr.grandmother living with them - my mom doing all of her care - and then my grandmother for a while - shared between my Mom and her brother. It was a huge drain financially...and moreso emotionally and physically on my Mom. An assisted living home is a great option and will help keep your relationship pleasant, longer. It's what was done with my grandfather and it saved everyone's sanity -most specifically, Mom's.

  2. Hmmmm, can you have wine with the takeout Chinese? LOTS of wine? Yes, that could be an emotionally laden time. I can imagine how stretched you are; glad you are making time for swimming and knitting. Prayers for all.

  3. Amen to Omnibus Driver's {{Hugs}}! {{Prayers}}. It's great that you found time to knit and did it with a friend! Hooray for Gary who's been great through all of this!

    Going into an assisted living home of her choice so that she could get all the help she needed was my Grandmother's decision, and it made a world of difference. Before that Mom, Dad, and Uncle Bob had been taking turns staying in a small travel trailer in the driveway to take care of her and Granddad. If you are moving your Dad into the nice place near you, he may be pleasantly surprised about how good such places can be.


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