It is the first day of spring. A new season awaits and we greeted the day below freezing but it has warmed up nicely. After working out this morning I decided to make the often put off trip to Johnson City because I had happy feet and felt the need to see the big mountains north of us. It is kind of a gray day and in Johnson City rain threatened or at least it seemed that way. Once I was over the highest part of the drive, I talked with a friend. We had been talking when the call failed and before I could return the call, my brother called. We had talked yesterday because it seems that our father is having some difficulties health-wise.
With my father you never know...This is the man who would mow his lawn in the middle of the day during the summer hoping that just a small health related incident would happen, for just a little bit of attention. While being in remission for over five years almost fifteen from cancer, he would think every ache or pain announced the return of the dreaded C and after trips to the ER at MD Anderson or a slew of appointments the diagnosis would be the flu or a sore muscle. When he decided to have some heart surgery and it being more or less elective and Roy and I talked with him at length to see if this is really what he wanted to do. I suggested he look into a study program I read about and that meant not open heart surgery but a less invasive procedure. Once he began to understand open heart surgery, he backed off quickly...let some time go by and then swears up and down that he discovered the study program on his own. He was accepted into it and had a wonderful result. So when my brother was told that our father wasn't eating or wanting anything to drink, we didn't know if it was a natural decline or if he was trying to control the last thing he had any control over. The need to control stays with us to our dying day. After twenty four hours it is beginning to look like natural decline and not an obstinate man looking for a last bit of attention.
Life has never been easy with father. For us it became more difficult beginning in March of 2012 when he legalized his hatred with a severance of relationship. He cut contact and then began accusing us of actions we never had done. His next step when he didn't get the desired reaction was to notify Adult Protective Services and filed a complaint with the Houston Police, Elder Care and Abuse. It became the regular disruptive stress during the next three years to continually respond to these charges filed against us and the end result always the same, we hadn't done anything he accused us of. We are innocent. When the authorities knew we were in North Carolina and when my brother called them and vouched that our father is an adroit lier, the calls stopped, the investigations and stopped wasting the authorities time. My brother also discovered a person of interest that kept things stirred up in hopes of some kind of financial windfall by duping our father. Then my father fell and broke his hip and the long time duplicitous stories to his doctor and to others revealed he shouldn't have been living in his house, by himself for a very long time. Thus began his assisted living journey.
My brother, after a few hits and misses, found a wonderful place for our father. His quality of life, raised. He was playing cards again and being social. He did have a little problem of taking things that weren't his, but Thelma, his long time friend, makes him read the Bible, pray for forgiveness from the Lord and then makes him apologize to the people he has taken things from each time he tresspasses against others. The past two years my brother has described them as freeing for our father. All the darkness that had covered so much of his life, all the conspiracies against him...imagined...gone. He was easier to talk with and he apologized to my brother and began telling him that he loved him. Our father was not one to express love by action or by words. He would ask why Roy and I weren't coming to see him and that is when my brother would remind him of everything he had done and said. He admitted those were some pretty good reasons. If my father had ever told my brother, would you tell your sister I am sorry, I would have probably reached out, but you see he never said that. He could not let it go because of his dislike that should probably be described as hatred, for me.
I am thrilled for my brother that he has had these last two years finding out he is loved and I am thrilled for my father that he has had these last two years away from his emotional darkness. It makes me so happy. Thelma has had many a conversation with our father making sure he knows the Lord and that he has truly accepted the gift of salvation. There have been several previous conversions that weren't the real deal admitted so by my father.
I am thankful for a therapist who helped me before and after all this happened. I am in a good place emotionally and spiritually, but I do find myself these past twenty four hours praying for and thinking about my dad. There is no desire to go see him and it is probably one of the healthiest decisions I can make. I wish he had had a better childhood. I wish he could have loved living life with his wife and family. I wish he could have found happiness. As for those holes in my childhood that didn't connect or make sense, I am content that three years ago I found the answers and those pieces of the puzzle explained so much. There is closure. I have forgiven him and I love him.
My brother should have some answers by this evening as a hospice nurse is visiting with our father this afternoon.