Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Want To Get Off This Roller Coaster

I am struggling with this one.

In fact, I have started this post 7 different times only to reread my words, take a deep breath and hit delete.  If I were writing this old school with actual pen and paper, I would probably have a mountain of wadded up notebook paper at my feet and ink stains on my fingertips. 

But I don't.

Instead, I have a blinking cursor daring me to write the hard things.  The important things.  The things that I can not say. . .

I have been on a roller coaster this past week.  Summer arrived, as it always does, with a feeling of freedom and promise and sweet expectations.  The kids and I had made our summer wish list, and we had visited the pool for a last day of school picnic.  I was relaxing into my summer mode when my mom's phone call arrived.

"Dad is going in for another heart catherization."

My mood plummeted.

Her voice was low, but even, which I found odd.  I know that she was staying calm for my dad and probably for me too, but every word she spoke was like a click of a roller coaster inching its way to its peak. 

"Again?" I questioned quietly.  "What happened?"

She replied, "He is having chest pains, " and then she paused for what seemed like a week, " . . . just like last time."

And then silence.

What else was there to say, after all?  We had ridden this ride before 3 years ago.  And after that terrifying experience, there were promises made to eat better, to make smarter choices, and to exercise. 

Promises that have not been kept.

And here is the rub . . . dad's heart procedure went fantastically.  He is at home recovering, and I am thrilled that he is feeling better, that he is OK, and that we all get to have him around.  So, why do I still feel like I am on the roller coaster?  Why do I keep anticipating that next bottom-falling-out feeling?  That next drop?

It is an interesting problem.  Loving someone so much that you can not imagine your life without him, but also recognizing that life without him is a very real possibility if things do not change.  Loving someone so much that you would do anything for him, but being unable to make him do any one thing that will keep him alive.

It is frustrating as hell.

And truthfully, it makes me so angry that I want to scream and throw things and bury my head under a pillow just like my 3 year old does when things get a bit too scary. 

But I don't.

Instead, I call and talk to Dad and listen to him joke about his "6 pack" of stents.  I know he is joking because that is just his way, but I don't find it the least bit funny. And when I try to broach the subject and get serious, Dad changes the topic to our family's summer plans.  I want to parent him and lecture him and give him a laundry list of what to do and what not to do.

But I don't.

Instead, I love him  . . . and hope that that will be enough.

**********Linking to this week's Things I Can't Say ****************************


  1. Sending your family lots of prayers!

  2. I'm sorry about your Dad but we all die someday. You will have great memories of him to tide you over when the day comes which hopefully will not be for a long, long time.

  3. Ugh. I have a friend whose mother is an alcoholic with Chronic Leukemia and she voices the same struggles as you. How do you parent your parent when he or she does not want to do what is needed?

    Prayers your way...

  4. For me I think if I don't take care of myself and just drop dead at least you won't be burdened taking care of me. Life is just a crap shoot. But I want dad around so I will be after him more.
    Love Mom

  5. Much love to you and your family. <3

  6. I love you Annie and Jaime!

    I may make jokes about my recent catherization, but I assure you that I do not take my condition lightly. I will not make excuses for my lifestyle, but will say that after 40 years of not exercising and eating the wrong foods to now make a complete turn about is hard. After my catherization of 3 years ago I have maintained my weight, actually I lost 10 pounds. My diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure are under control. I knew they would have to go back in and address the over 50 percent clogged artery they did not stent then and have now fixed.

    I work 3-4 days a week, 12 hours a day. I walk 4-5 miles a day at work. I still cut my grass and do the lawn work in Florida's 90 degree weather. I still paint my house inside and out. I think that I look good and I feel good for my age of 62.

    With all that said, I AM SORRY to put you and your sister on a roller coaster. I want to enjoy many, many more years with both of you, your mother and the grandkids.




  7. Sometimes, no matter the changes people make in their lives bad crap happens to good people.

    If that really is your dad's comment above, try not to be too hard on him. Old habits are hard to break, especially when they seem to suck the fun out of life - boiled chicken is no where near as yummy as a steak.

    We're here for you. Chin up. *hugs*

  8. I understand more than you know! My dad is the same way...always joking, always taking care of others, even when we should be taking care of him. He has health issues, too, specifically heart and high blood pressure. I know it's hard on you, but be patient with him. Sometimes that's the only way people know how to respond to this kind of stuff. Prayers for you and your family!

  9. I so get this. My Father in law just had a rather large heart attack a couple of months ago. He has already had a stroke several years ago. He also has diabetes. He is in his early 60's. He needs to do something.

    Neither of my inlaws exercise and their diet is well...not great. I keep on telling my hubby that they need to do something - they need to make changes, but I feel like they really don't get the big picture. They have made some small changes, but I just wonder how long they will last.
    I feel so bad for my husband.

  10. So sorry.

    I hope your father does make the changes he needs to.

    Because you and your family are too wonderful for him to miss.

    Good luck...

    (and good thoughts coming your way.)

  11. You are in my prayers. I hope it turns out.

  12. It must be hard to be in this position and to feel so powerless in helping him.

    I do hope his recovery continues to go smoothly and that the roller coaster ride is over!


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