Sunday, October 30, 2005

Off the Wagon

Family dynamics are strange. Even under the best possible circumstances, the crazy-making weirdness comes out to play at holiday time, or road trip time, or long family vacation time - causing various forms of distress, embarrassment, hurt, frustration, whatever. As some people know, Thanksgiving Dinner can be a place where strange secrets get blurted out at the dinner table, i.e., "I Wear Men's Tighty Whiteys!" followed by the embarrassed silence of the table where everyone collectively adds more wine to their glasses.

When the circumstances are at their worst possible it is up to the family to put their weirdness aside and step up to the plate for the person who needs the most from the family. Personal weirdness really doesn't have a place when it comes down to truly caring for a family member in crisis.

My father (and I use the term VERY loosely here because he never had the tools to be one), has chosen to make this most horrible time for the whole family - about him. Now, I should preface that my father is insane. Rip roaring, bug-eyed raving, creepy lunatic with little or no regard for anyone else, because it's a conspiracy to try to control him if he is told to consider the needs of others. Mad as a mercury sniffing hatter. Crazier than a shit house rat. Other cliches that escape me. And that's on medication.

Add that to that phenomenon that effects many PhD academic liberals that vote liberal, give money to liberal causes, yet in terms of their behavior they are strictly Republican with respect to how they treat the working class, women, or members of their own family. It's their world - we just live in it.

Suffice it to say that my objective here, which is to take care of my terminally ill sister - and that is my ONLY job here, is being circumvented by a maniac that believes in humiliating the family with public outbursts, yelling at highly trained nurses, title company personnel, family members, etc... demanding that every weird and inappropriate impulse of his is paid attention to and gone along with - and other people be damned. We just bought a condo to live in temporarily while we are here and I think the association is going to have us out on our asses before we are even moved in.

He needs to go home. He has made a perfectly horrible situation impossibly more horrible and stressful. I can only take responsibility for my own responses to things - stress being one of them - and I'm sure I had other choices - heroin for example - but I smoked last night for the first time in over 3 1/2 years.



Blogger Tracey said...

All I can really say is

((((((((((((((((((Millicent and family)))))))))))))))))))))

My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Stay strong hon, even if that means smoking again. You gotta do what ya gotta do to keep sane.

30 October, 2005 08:01  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

So very sorry to hear about your sister. You need to be strong for her, and that's the hardest thing because you also need someone to be strong for you. Know that many people have you and your family in their thoughts and prayers, and are checking your blog daily to find out how things are going.

Hopefully your father will get his dose upped to help him deal. God knows he's going through a tough time too, even if he's an a**hole.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. We may never fully realize the "whys" and the questions may not be answered, but I think we gain that knowledge when it's time.

The past cannot be changed. All we have is the here and now, until our spirits pass to the other side. You're here now with your sister. It's where you should be. God Bless.

30 October, 2005 12:10  
Blogger R said...

What I would want to know is...if we put MY mother and YOUR father in a room together...would they kill one another, or would they be like cats and cancel each other out? Hang in there Milli. I can totally relate. I lived your nightmare about six years ago. You CAN do this.

30 October, 2005 16:01  
Blogger Laura said...

Oh dear. I never understood before that your father was a few cards short of a full deck. I suppose in his own inept, self-centered way, that he thinks he's trying to help your sister (by, say, yelling at the nurses, perhaps he thinks he is motivating them?) And, he is probably grieving about your sister's illness. Maybe it would help if you could mutter to yourself under your breath, "He's doing the best he knows how, it's just that he doesn't know much" or something like that. Count to 10, walk away, breathe in breathe out, but just do your part to try to defuse the situation whenever possible. Sending more positive thoughts of healing and strength to your sister (and to all of you, too.)

31 October, 2005 04:17  
Anonymous pia said...

Smoke those damn cigarettes

Family is hard; family can make you insane; but family seems to be good for your wriing, so keep writing.

Family, crazy fathers and all are sometimes all we have.

you're losing a sister. She was supposed to go into old age with you--despite your differences--so you could be the two people in the world who remembered the identical story totally differently

It's not fair Millicent, really.

And while she might be accepting for now; her mood's going to constantly change because it is unfair. And your parents...never ever want to outlive a child

So do whatever you need to do to make it through the time, and you have manpants--the name alone....

And a virtual community that really cares about you

They bought a condo? Don't want to know the price; since my version of cheap is LA--same basic housing costs as NY but more for your money, and much cheaper cost of living.

Really. I take pictures at Ralph's because nobody would believe me otherwise

Hope that cheers you up a bit. It depresses the hell out of me

Keep on writing; you're at your ironic best in the last few posts

And I have been sending out vibes and will even more

31 October, 2005 06:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lcyeiI don't know you and probably have no right to make a comment. My brother survived colon cancer, my Mother succumbed to ovarian Ca in the sixties when I was eight. It's never easy, hang in there. Pay no attention to any doomsayers. Your father is angry, parents get angry when they run the risk of loosing one of there children. Nurses can take it if he gets really abusive they will cal security and have him removed. Keep the faith.

31 October, 2005 12:15  
Blogger Catharine said...

Oy... family.... can't live with 'em... can't poison the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. Not sure if there is a solution. He is your sister's father (technically speaking, of course).

And I have to disagree with Anonymous. In times where a person is fighting to live the best way the can for as long as they can, there is no excuse for bad behavior from bystanders -- even if the bystanders have a vested interest in the outcome. When a medical emergency occurs in a hospital, the first thing the staff does is eliminate the "non-essential personnel" from the room. In the case of childbirth complications, that's the baby's father. In the case of a terminally ill adult, that's the family -- particularly self-absorbed, self-centered jackasses who never learned how to behave properly.

Your father is "non-essential personnel." That makes him expendable. You're right. He needs to go bye-bye.


01 November, 2005 07:44  
Blogger Catharine said...

P.S. I was talking about my father, not yours. But if the shoe fits, feel free to borrow it as the need arises....

Hang in there, Mil.


03 November, 2005 08:01  

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