Tag Archives: dad

a day without dad

this is the first thanksgiving without my father. i thought of him throughout the night. thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays because “family dinners” always ended up rather dismal. dad would usually be drinking and wishing he were elsewhere; mom would be stressed putting on a big meal, knowing that at some point dad would turn nasty, finding an excuse to storm out of the house to go hang at the bar.

later, after mom died, thanksgiving was a battle of who’s house to eat at and the inevitable pressure put on us from the family contingent that was not being graced with our obligatory presence. a particularly annoying case of family push-me-pull-me nonsense.

i tried having thanksgiving at my house one year, but there’s something wrong with vegetarians cooking turkey and the universe cursed us for the effort. see http://thereallinda.livejournal.com/2004/11/27/ for that particular misery.

last night was very nice. my son, jess and his girlfriend came, brni’s parents, marnie’s dad and a few family friends came with assorted wines and musical instruments. after dinner we all played music and sang silly songs.

last year dad was with us and had a very happy time.
i sent him a song for the day.


so, my dad died this morning. i didn’t expect it. even though he was frail. even though he suffered from a sad heart and a confused mind, i didn’t expect it.

but i am relieved because the dread of lingering in a state of dementia is something i didn’t want to see him go through. he’d not been happy or content in this state. for years he was able to fool the world because he was so smart. but i knew. and so did he.

he had a quick and apparently quiet heart attack. i don’t think there was time to suffer. i don’t think he had the acuity to even know what hit him.

i said goodbye at the funeral home. they were kind enough to cover him in quilted white satin as he lay on the gurney waiting for transportation to the crematorium. i didn’t know i wanted to see him until this afternoon. i realized that i needed to say goodbye. i needed to finish this.

so i looked him over, setting his last image in my mind. the change in color, texture and temperature. i laid my hand on his forehead and felt his cold.

i said goodbye to my dad.

i wonder when the tears will come…

dad, ad nauseum

So, I girded my loins (do women have loins?), and headed on over to the home to try and find Dad’s missing clothes. As I approached the nurses station, I saw Dad heading over from the opposite direction. He had a slip of paper in his hand and said, “I’m glad you’re here. I don’t have any money and I need to pay for my lunch.” I told him the bill was taken care of but he said, “Well, I don’t know if that’s true.”

ah the love and faith and shit.


The nurse took the slip and said the bill was taken care of, so we could sit down and visit. In the meantime, I asked the nurse to get hold of the laundry so I could try to find Dad’s missing clothes. So when the PT guy came for Dad, Dante, the housekeeping director escorted me down to the laundry, but none of his clothes were there. So we filled out forms and made lists of missing items and then his nurse said, “What about the clothes in his closet?” I said, “What clothes in what closet?”

Apparently, Dad has a closet with a dirty laundry bag in it that the aides kept stuffing his clothes in, on top of another man’s soiled (and I do mean soiled) clothes (I guess he died). The laundry was never told to start picking up Dad’s clothes, so I had to sort through Dad’s filthy things and some dead guy’s shitty things so that I could give Dante Dad’s things to wash and the nurse could dispose of the dead guy’s things.

i mean ugh…just fuckin’ ugh

As I was leaving, I found myself muttering, “I won’t ever go back. This is the last time. I won’t ever go back.” Of course, I will go back…but I sure don’t want to.

Anybody out there know when this stuff starts getting easier?

bad dad day

My sister and I went to visit Dad in the home today. It would have been better if we’d stayed far away.

Going to see Dad is a chore at best, nauseating at worst. Today, since Lori didn’t have a way of getting down to my house, I had to go to Thorndale to pick her up, which is 20 miles in the opposite direction from Dad’s nursing home, which is 20 miles from my house, so I basically traveled 60 miles both ways.

When we got there, Dad was nowhere to be found. Everyone said, “I saw him in the day room”…”I saw him in the dining room,” etc. Finally, after combing the rather small home, a nurse’s aid found that he’d gone to bed…in the wrong room. Poor Bruce. I hope he didn’t mind.

Dad was having a bad day. He was mean. He was surly. He had a nasty scowl on his face and was literally arguing and yelling at everyone no matter what they said or did. He was absolutely awful.

Yes, the Dad I remember from my youth….just plain mean. The difference now though is that he’s not being mean because of the booze, he’s being mean because he’s fragile and scared and he has no idea what’s happening to him.

We went out on the patio because he wanted a cigarette. He bitched at Lori and me the whole time, for what, I don’t know. I guess we just looked wrong. Finally, he wanted to get out of the chair and into the wheelchair so that we could wheel him back to his room. He demanded our help, but refused to let us actually do anything. Halfway through the procedure, he forgot why he was moving and put his legs up on the wheelchair as if it was a foot stool, when he’d just gotten them off of it so he could try to get out of the chair he was sitting in. It went on and on and ended with him screaming at the nurse’s aid because she finally gave up and just picked him up out of the chair and plunked him down on the wheel chair.

I bow to her patience. She never once smacked him upside the head, though he deserved it.

Lori and I finally just left as the nurse was getting him into his bed. I don’t even want to go into the nastiness Dad was exhibiting towards his roommate and his sister, demanding that the roommate (a parapalegic) move his bed out of the way and give him his wastebasket to boot. I have no clue as to what the basket thing was about, but Dad wanted it.

I looked at Lori and said, “Let’s get out of here.” She didn’t need convincing.

I swear, if I have any friends at all, you will go out and stockpile some nice, undetectable but deadly drugs and save them for me. If I start going the way of my dad, please, give them to Brni to put me out of his misery. And if he can’t or won’t, sneak them into my jello when he’s not looking.

thank you.

there is nothing noble

about living in filth.

That is how my father lived…in filth. He is one of those people who creates filth just by existing. I’m not talking about being messy. I’m not even talking about clutter, though there was plenty of that. I’m talking disgusting, nauseating, disease-ridden filth. There is no creature on earth that chooses to live in filth except human creatures, and those who do are aberrant.

I remember when I was young, I hated being near Dad’s side of my parent’s bedroom. His side was always cluttered and his night stand and dresser dusted with a fine coating of dander. Now, my mom was a cleaning fanatic. The woman never stopped cleaning, even though she worked outside the home until she retired. We lived in a house full of smokers but you never smelled smoke when you walked in the house. Ashtrays were washed several times a day. She scrubbed down the bathroom after her shower every morning and dusted and vacuumed at least once a day. You would be hard-pressed to find a cobweb in the attic or a dust-bunny in the basement let alone in the rooms we lived in. When I lived at home, she had my bed made before I got out of my morning shower. It drove me nuts. I thought she was insane. I mean, I’d be smoking a cigarette and turn to put it out to find the ashtray had been washed, dried and put back between puffs.

But, I now understand what she was battling. She was battling the unholy cesspool that is my father. I tried to keep after him but when my bad back sent me to surgery in March of 2007, I stopped cleaning my Dad’s apartment. The amount of pure, nicotine-laden filth that he managed to put down over every surface in his small, one bedroom abode is staggering.

Today, Brni, Gordon and I spent the day loading up a U-Haul of salvageable furniture from his place for distribution between my sons, my sister and us. It took me 3 hours to clean one lamp table and my poor cedar chest which I’d lent the old man. There was so much dirt and nicotine on everything that it took many scrubbings to (almost) remove all the black, gummy residue. After I was done, I felt so toxic I had to scrub myself down…but I could still smell the disease. I finally realized I had to wash out my sinuses with salt water to breath freely again.

I am beside myself knowing that tomorrow I have to go over to his place again to meet the 1-800-GOTJUNK guys to take away the stuff that we couldn’t salvage. Everything that was upholstered is unfit for man or beast. I feel guilty thinking of the pollution its disposal will cause, but I have no choice since the township won’t let me burn it. Then, after the apartment is empty, I have to clean it.

I may never get over this.

hauling day

so, today we are renting a u-haul to move out the decent furniture to give to jesse, lori and michael. tomorrow the 1-800-GOT JUNK people will come and take away the stuff that can’t be salvaged.
then i clean as best as i can (no way to remove the dripping nicotine from the walls).
then i wait for the landlord to sue me for a years worth of rent.

but, it’s almost over.

toxic clean-up day

my mood is swinging all over the place. i’m calm one minute and frantic the next. can’t get dad’s crisis out of my head. the fact that i have to go through cleaning up after him and dumping his toxic waste of a life *again* has me very angry. and of course, there’s nothing i can do with that except work through it. it would help if i could sleep. bleh.

today brni and i will head on over to dad’s MRSA-infested apartment and start the process of bagging up all the trash and sorting through the stuff that needs to be dealt with. we have to figure out how to dispose of all the upholstered stuff since it is beyond the point where it can be cleaned. that’s 2 recliners, 1 old chair, mattress, box spring, and of course all bedding, clothing and curtains. nothing can be saved. the wooden furniture can be cleaned up. hopefully someone will want it but anything the kids and my sister don’t want will be thrown out.

i’ll be taking the camera to document this…just in case i need proof that he is incapable of taking care of himself. i can’t take anything for granted with this.

and later i get to tell the landlord that i need to break the lease and hope that i don’t need a lawyer.

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