It was the weekend. A Sunday. The night before I was online doing a vigorous search for programs for disabled vets. James was 3 months old and my I was getting ready to go back to work. Me being, well, Me, I had to start planning what was going to happen with The Family in my absence. The hubby was exhausted, Chris was even more of a handful and My Father was, well..being My Father in his carefree ways.
His cat, Nikita..old, old, cat. We had her for about 15 years. If any one in their lives had a companion that was always at their side, then Nikita was it for My Pops. She never left His room and even tho she drve him batty, she was, in essence, the only thing that he could physically take care of anymore.
And then, He couldn’t. It got to the point that I knew that coming home late hours, if I didn’t cook, then the family wouldn’t eat that night just because everyone was so tired and they didn’t have the energy to even turn on the stove.
So that Sunday morning, I sat out on the deck. It was a beautiful morning, unnaturally warm for spring, and I asked to speak to Him. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail and he had on that damn denim shirt that He kept in his closet for like a millenia. Still looked good on Him tho.
I asked Him how He was feeling and I got the usual response: “eh.”
And then we spoke in depth about His future. I explained to Him that I was at a point in my life that I couldn’t take care of Him like I used to. With a new baby, I couldn’t ask Him to help me. I couldn’t ask him to carry James or change Chris..I just needed Him to take care of Himself. And I remember telling Him that I didn’t even see Him doing that anymore. That I was worried about Him and at this rate, if He kept ignoring His health, that He wasn’t gonna make it to see next year.
We talked about the option that was not an option. And of course He was like “I’ll kill myself before I go into a home.” And I told Him, I knew that wasn’t a choice. So I gave Him the information that I had been grueling for the night before. He had choices. A nurse would come to the house and give Him checkups, Meals on Wheels would come and bring lunch and dinner. Someone would come and go to the store for Him and get his groceries. And He had this smile. A smile that I had seen countless times before and never really appreciated more than I do right now at this moment. It was like, a solution, an answer that we didn’t know we had. And for that moment, we figured everything would be okay.
And then I explained to Him why. I told him I loved Him. And I wanted Him to be around for as long as life would permit. And then we both were crying. He told me he loved me. That He really loved me and was grateful for what I had done. That He should have looked into this years ago when He qualified at the age of 65 but He never gave it a thought because He really didn’t know how or didn’t care to know because looking at those options would be the final confirmation that He was, in fact, getting old and that He needed help.
We sat there on the deck that May Sunday Morning. Me telling Him that I would do anything to take care of Him. And He told me how he was proud of me and He loved me, and he loved his daughters and how smart we were. We walked away from that conversation with a positive look on the future, and a new hope that things were going to be better. Days later, the nurses came and the programs were in full effect and he was happy.
That was the last real conversation that I would have with My Father.
That would be the last time that we told each other that we really loved each other, not just in passing.
There are so many things that I regret not being able to do with Him or for Him. Things that I wish there was more time. And I know I can’t get that time back. So I look at what time we did have, and what memories we did make, and even now, with my eyes practically blinded from tears,
I remember My Father and I remember that He did love me.
And I remember that I truly, deeply loved Him too.