Sunday, June 12, 2011

He Ain't Winning

My father isn't winning this battle I'm afraid. My parents finally decided to go to the lake house this weekend. It was much needed after all they have been through these last few months with my father's steady declining health. I stopped by to help them load the oxygen generator and some tanks. My sister will be at the other end of the journey to help them unload, since she lives about 10 miles from the lake house. It is so disheartening to see my father now. From a strapping 210 pounds to a fragile 145 pounds. It breaks my heart knowing his time is slowly slipping away and there isn't a damn thing anyone can do to stop it. I can't imagine what is going through his head or my mother's at this point. I do what I can to help but I can't halt what is coming. I can only prepare for it, like my parents are doing. My father use to have the strength and stamina to work from sun up to sun down. Now the simple act of walking to the table to eat leaves him exhausted and gasping. He has taken to eating on the sofa with a tv tray and his oxygen tube on. There for a while he would take it off and join us at the table. Not any more. He has lost so much weight. He tries to hide the fact from others. He use to always tuck in his shirts. Not any more. His belts no longer adjust small enough so he has taken to wearing suspenders to hold up his pants, under his shirts so no one can seem them. I keep wondering why my mother has stopped buying him smaller clothes that fit better. I'm sure part of it is the fact it is difficult to find 32 in waist in a 34 length. I think most likely it is a way for both of them to not acknowledge how much weight he has lost in the past few months. My father sold his bass boat to a family member. He hasn't been able to use it for over a year now. He seemed to have a mixture of happiness and sadness that it was gone. I suppose to not see it go to waste was good, but also to know there was one more thing he can no longer do. I told him months ago, take his oxygen with him and if the fish weren't biting, he could dive in with the tank. He chuckled. I took his truck to the dealership to have the air conditioner looked at.I relayed what he said to the mechanic. He couldn't take the heat that long, nor do I think he would have taken his oxygen with him to such a public place. He is just now wearing it around his grandkids or other relatives when they visit. I took him to get the truck filled up. He rode with me for that. He took the tank with him for that. We talk a lot away from my mother. He worries about her health and the toll looking after him maybe taking on her. He worries about the old place not selling at a high enough price or taking too long or me not being able to find an affordable house close by to look after my mother when he is gone. After almost 54 years of marriage, my mother now is mowing the yard for the first time ever. She is learning how to crank the tiller on her own. Use to be she would have my father do it. If she has a problem with either of them, she calls me. I run over there to take care of it for her and make sure there is gas and oil in them. If I'm not working or on the way to work or just getting off work, I'll do it for whatever it is for her, if she will let me. My father stays in the house where he can breathe easier. Use to be he would be out there too on his tractor doing something. Not any more. Funny, that last, short sentence sums everything up. "Not any more". My father will soon be, not any more. What are we gonna do without him? I'm not ready. I don't think my mother is either.


Ur-spo said...

one of the hardest things we have is watching our loved ones wither.
Only comfort is that of others; and knowing you are not alone in this Journey.

Cubby said...

I feel for you David. Take care.

Mind Of Mine said...

I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. Have you and your Mother thought about seeing a grief specialist to help you prepare?

Java said...

It's been a while since I stopped by here. I didn't realize your dad's health was declining. I'm sorry to hear that. I wish you and your family the strength for this journey.

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