Monday, January 24, 2011

Watching Daddy Sleep

It's Monday.

My caregiver can't be here today. Something about a green card issue.

So, even though she was prepared to have a substitute fill in for her, I told her that I would take leave and stay with him.

It's a thankless task....being with my dad during this time of illness. In the end, when all is said and done, I will have the comfort of knowing that I spent every available moment with him and trying to keep him comfortable.

As I watch him sleep...which is what he does mostly these days....I remember so much from my childhood. Dad was always a bit quirky....a control freak. He would give me a task to do...but then wind up having to do it himself because he wanted it done "right". These repeated actions really did a number on me....and left me with the feeling that I couldn't do anything. In fact, I still suffer the residual effects of all this even today.

But watching dad sleep now, makes me wonder what made him the way he was. Did his dad treat him the same way?

Daddy coughs and peers over the side of his hospital bed....making sure I'm here. His hearing aids are out....and he can't hear a thing. We make eye contact. He gives a feeble smile and then turns on his side. All is well in his world.

He complained earlier about the fact that all he wants to do is sleep now. I respond by saying, "I know." I tuck the comforter around him. The hospice people say that this is going to happen...he will sleep and sleep and sleep and slowly fade away...unless some imbalance in his body, caused by the cancer, will take him sooner.

They tell me that I shouldn't be surprised when the end comes.

But I know that when the end comes....all bets are off. I probably will be a wreck....and then I can go about the business of mourning.

For both of my parents...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tired and Turned Off With the Whole Gay Thing

I actually have some time to myself!

It has been way too long.

Most of the time since mother died, I have been surrounded by family members monitoring my every mood. The daughter who lives with me has commandeered my MAC...and my dad, who now lives with me, requires constant monitoring.

It feels like my life is foggy...and I spend the majority of it on autopilot: going to work....coming home.....becoming caregiver.....watching Dad's every move.....listening for him to try and get out of his hospital bed...he thinks he can get up whenever and walk wherever. He simply doesn't get it that he is no longer an independent middle-aged man. He is now a very thin....very of what he once was.

And he falls.


You can turn away for two seconds....and bam...a thud.

It is unreal.

I never thought I would be in this position with him. Between my two parents, I had always assumed he would be the first to go. But it was my mom.

And it hell. It still does.

But, for all the frustration....and concern.....and fatigue....and worry.....and overall caregiving....I would not take a million dollars for this time I am having with my dad.

You see, as I grew up...I knew he loved me...but we just didn't take the time to get to know one another. He had his responsibilities and in the 50s and 60s, Dads were not generally "that" close to their kids. They worked....they came home....they were in charge of the discipline..... I call it the Ward Cleaver approach.

So, in the three months that my daddy has spent with me thus far, it has been a time of growing very close to him....and listening to him. He enjoys his one-on-one time with me....and he told a guest the other night that "I've been having a good time with my son. We've gotten to say a whole lot of things we should have said a long time ago."

So, I suppose this is my time to catch up....bridge chasms....and prepare for closure with him.


I have not discussed the gay thing with him.

That is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay off the charts in terms of trying to fill him in on all of this. The stuggles....the sadness....the gloom....the loneliness.....the agony....the ecstasy.....all parts of being gay.

And, as he doesn't matter.

The one thing that does matter is that I have him now for what little time is left....and he has me.

I digress.


At this writing, Dad is still sleeping. He spends so much more time sleeping in a day. He only averages about 4 hours of waking time. HIs eating has slown greatly. The hospice people say that this is all to be expected. They also say that I should expect his departure at any time....and to not be surprised that when I walk out of his room and return, he could be gone....or I could wake up one morning and he be gone.

Suffice it all to say that I have a few moments to myself. My daughter is working her 2nd job today....and my dad is still sleeping. I'm in the mood to write.

And so here I am.

I am exhausted. I suppose I should talk to my grief counselor about all that is going through my head at the moment. I just don't have time to focus on me right now. The counselor calls me check in on me....and she has said repeatedly just how difficult grieving a significant loss is...but that I am extra special because I'm gearing up for another loss...."soon."

I suppose I will deal with all that when the time comes.

I've lost interest in friends......I've lost interest in church.......I've even lost interest in the whole gay thing. Even sex!

Some of the budding relationships I thought were percolating nicely prior to October 11, all appear to have fizzled. Each of those available gay men have said one of the following: "I'm giving you space with your family." Even though I told him that I would really like to get out of the house for a meal or something. "Let's get together the next time you're in town," only for him to be totally unavailable each time I am in his town. Then to add insult to injury, he writes on Facebook that he is still pining for his first love...the one who dumped him....said very hurtful things to him.....and is an alcoholic and a total mess.

The other two men that I have been hopeful for have just dropped off the face of the earth and I never hear from them.

So, I am ready to turn in my "GAY" membership card.

I am turned off.

I am disillusioned.

AND...on top of all that..I found one of those reality shows on the LOGO network that only reinforces my disillusionment with the gay community at large.

It's called "The A-List"....a group of gay men in their 20s, 30s, and 40s....who are all into this big social whirl in NYC. They know this celebrity or that celebrity....they have this penthouse....or perform in that play....and they are into looks, wealth....and things! Why, even one of them, who might be actually likeable if he would drop all the pretense......and the bitchiness.....has a really good claim to fame as to why he is on the's because he knows Lindsey Lohan!

God help us all.

So, here is Frank....who struggled for so long to rise out of the ashes.....definitely not on that A-list and who doesn't want to be.

I am sitting here....actually glad that I am the quiet of the morning. I can hear Dad snoring in the next room.... My writing this morning is nothing more than a stream of consciousness.....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cold and Blue

Had a near miss with my daddy this weekend. Friday when I got home from the office, he was simply lifeless.

He could not walk.

He did not want to eat.

He did not want to drink.

He had a fever of 101.8.

I was a bit frightened by his sudden deterioration.

So, I spent the entire weekend looking for supositories to calm his nausea. I also had to find tylenol supositories. I finally found them at an all night CVS in Springfield VA at 3:00 Saturday morning.

And, guess who was elected to insert the supositories? Well, it certainly was not my dad.

My daughter remarked at how calm and cool I was in handling all this.

I told her that it was all just a front...and that inside I was a wreck.

Following all this, we were barraged by a parade of nurses from Hospice. Yesterday the doctor at Hospice made a house call. She diagnosed dad as suffering from bacterial pneumonia. She also said that his overall condition has deteriorated....considerably since she first visited him in November.

All told....I need to brace myself for his passing.

I am stressed.....and saddened by all this.

Why did I have to lose my parents like this?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A New Year Has Begun...

I cannot believe that 2010 is finally over. It was what I consider to be a very hellish year. I'm glad that 2011 can begin. I suppose I am looking for the new year to be my NEW BEGINNING.

Where do I begin to catch you up on all the things that have been going on in my life? First, my dad has officially moved in with me. It presents all new stresses and anxiety for me. My daughter, who also lives with me, is showing a side of herself that I'm not really pleased with. She is like Lovey Jr. This is perhaps due to the fact that Lovey seems to exert so much influence over her. I don't like it. But, Lovey is the mother...and I can't keep her away from her mom.

Lovey Jr. even talked this evening about buying a house and moving out. That was a surprise....and I was swallowed up with pride...and not feeling like such a good dad. You know, I spent a lot of time trying to make my house pleasing for her to live in, and apparently it isn't good enough.

Oh well.

We eeked through the Christmas holiday. On the morning of Christmas Eve, I felt really bad for myself. I found myself second guessing decisions I was forced to make for my mom while she was in the hospital...and to be honest I was haunted by them. Did I cause mom to die? Did I kill her? My daughter from Nashville sensed the anguish I was feeling and she told me to stop having a pity party. She said, "Dad, I was there with you as you made those decisions....and you made all the right ones. Why don't you focus on the blessings you have this holiday season....namely, two of your kids, your dad....and all the stuff you have."

It helped me a lot.

Then I also had a ton of guests in for Christmas. I had the assistant pastor of where Lovey Jr. goes to church. Lovey's mom and sister came by. A photographer friend came by....and then finally, LOVEY herself showed up.

It was old home week.

I just don't know what to think about it all.

The photographer then showed up on New Year's Day with a framed and matted print of a picture he took of me with my Dad. I have hung it in my dining room. It's wonderful to see.

New Years has been quiet. I didn't feel like throwing my holiday hooptido. Perhaps next year.

Spiritually I feel adrift....I don't want to go to church...I don't even want to be with friends....I am just very down.

I miss just still hurts. The pain is excruciating.

On top of all that, I have had a few nibbles on the dating front....but the men did as they normally do....they flake off.

That was a downer.

So, as you can see. I am still here...but still adrift....and down. No raises at my job thanks to President Obama.

Let the frustration....gloom and doom begin!