Happy Freaking Birthday

Today is my father’s birthday. If you have not discerned from these posts, I have very little love for him. I don’t even know if I can call home. My mother was released from the hospital a few days ago, and sent home with the guarantee that there would be 24/7 care and the bed would be downstairs. Two of my sisters are there – helping Mom, dealing with the amazing nurses, and fighting with my father, who will not disclose their financials, which makes us all uneasy, because we do not know if he can cover the expense of her having in-home care, and what it will mean for the rest of us, and for him, as the days evaporate before our eyes.

Do I wish him a happy birthday? I remember, as a junior in college, as I was leaving the Athens airport on my way to Paris, after an incredible year of freedom abroad, I called him from a payphone to wish him best wishes. I was in an ancient airport, where cigarette smoke hung like clouds throughout the building, and wondering what the future would hold. It was over 20 years ago, and I never imagined that life would eventually bring me to this interception. I had yet to meet my future husband – I still thought I was dating the boy I had met on the program and it wouldn’t be for a month, when I returned stateside, that I would receive the “dear John” letter from him. Yes, that was a slap in the face. But more shocking was that I had grown so much from my year away, and yet my family didn’t see it, or didn’t want to recognize it. And as soon as I picked up on that, I began pulling away from all of them. I felt betrayed by not being allowed to live the life  wanted, or had imagined for myself.

I cannot say what my mother is thinking these days, but because she made me who I am, I believe she was proud of me. Would she be today? I do not know. Since the death of my husband, all my flaws have been there for everyone to see. I am fallible. I have done horrid things. I would love to blame it on my bipolar, my decent into using drugs to escape my reality, but I still have to wake up every morning and look at myself in the mirror. And most days I do not like what I see.

I used to. I used to believe. I used to think I was special and had something to give. But life beats you down. I know the mantra “it is not falling down, it is getting up again that makes us stronger”, but how many goddamn times do I have to get up again, and try?

With her diagnosis, and knowing I am losing her by the day, the threads of my history become weaker. Most days I simply go through the motions, because I no longer love what I do, and feel I have no one to back me, unless I become some phenom in their world. But I don’t have the energy for that. I want to run away, as I always have wanted, and just live the rest of my life out in peace, without the nuisance of family or ties, or relationships.

I love my partner. He has been a saving grace in my world. And yet, we are 2,000 mile apart and he has a son who needs him more than I do. If my mother goes, I might as well. Not suicide – thankfully, I am not on that kick in this moment. But just leaving. Running away. Never to deal with my history or those I love who I will eventually lose to  death, illness, dementia, Alzheimer’s. I do not know if I’m strong enough to deal with it all. I certainly do not have the strength my sisters’ are putting in, the battle they are fighting every day.

And thus, I am in a quandary. I wish I knew what the future held. I wish I could create a plan. But I cannot. I can only wait. I can only hope that whatever this rabbit hole is does not send me back into the roller coaster of depression and suicidal thoughts/idealism. I am exhausted. I have been alone, throughout this holiday weekend, when others get together and enjoy company – the things that make life meaningful to most people. But I just want to forget them and move on. I want to run. I want to be anonymous and forget my past. Unless I can use it in my writing. That is the value I see in this life. How what I have gone through I am able to write about. And the words, the release, are all that matter to me.

Because I am lost. And I do not know how to find the center.

© Sorrow & Kindness


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