It is odd that I started this blog after my Father passed away as a catharsis. His death was a long process of increasing pain for months without a diagnoses, then he fell and his hip shattered, it was during the surgery for hip replacement that we learned he had cancer that had metastasized to his bones. From October to January he fought and we endured; chemo, radiation, constant pain due to a disintegrated vertebrae that shattered at the same time as his hip. I learned a lot about being a caregiver, going from work to the hospital or the nursing home, relieving my Mother so she could get a few hours rest. Sometimes spending nights with him or working remotely from his room when I could. Then there were the phone calls I had to make… letting family know he had cancer, the worst of which was having to call my brother on his birthday to tell him that our father had passed away. Life does not come with any instructional material on how to do certain things, you just have to do them in the moment and live with the pain.
So I started writing, trying to be consistent, trying to find my voice among the clutter of emotional luggage that I carry around. When my Mother fell and broke her shoulder I split my time between work, helping her, and trying to be at home with my family. We saw her through that crisis and her shoulder healed. Some of the things I wrote on my blog, the personal soul searching, writing about my mental health issues; my Mother worried about them and it hurt her that I was hurting, so I stopped writing because I did not want her to worry.
Then one day she got sick and went to the doctor and he took her straight down to the emergency room at Martin Army hospital at Ft Benning. She had fluid building up in her abdomen, they drained it off and sent her home. Over the coming months she got worse, having to get fluid drained off frequently; we went from specialist to specialist looking for a cause of the fluid build up. She was barely eating or drinking, I was her full time caretaker while trying to juggle work and family.
Then finally we got a diagnosis, after months of guesses, cancer; but not just cancer, ovarian cancer and it had metastasized. The Oncologist gave her a prognosis, she had at most a week. We immediately got her into Hospice care at Columbus Hospice, she asked to be in the same room my Father had been in if it was available, it was. Once again I had to make phone calls, it was not any easier. Five days after her diagnosis she was gone, surrounded by family, in a room she wanted to be in.
And life goes on, the person who she had talked to that was going to take her two dogs backed out. I tried bringing them to my house, but they clashed with my other dogs. I could not just let them go to some strangers, they are what links me to my Mother. So I have juggled work, family, and pets for almost two years. I have also had to be a care taker of my wife as she was on bed rest for eighteen months, through antibiotic infusions. I have become stretched thin at times, relying on the help of my children to help me take care of my Mother’s dogs. Trying to balance work, family, and two households has taken an emotional toll on me; I second guess my decision to take care of the dogs and make two house payments, double utilities. I worry about the strain it has at times put on my marriage.
I need the catharsis of my writing, now more than ever. I have never really mourned for my parents. I took the pain and grief, stuck it in a suitcase and piled it up with the rest of my emotional baggage. I changed mental health providers and changed medicines, I have put off going to grief counseling as the Covid pandemic has raged, I do not need more problems. I am trying to get back to writing, but it is a slow process, having to clear away the cobwebs. Trying to find inspiration, when at the end of the day I just feel worn thin. I know I have a voice but I have forgotten what it sounds like.