This is a Really Real Mental Health post.
And a Really Real Aging Parents post.
My dad comes home today.
I’ve watched countless videos on how to get him off the floor. Different methods, different positions, different ability to help. I’ve spent hours wondering if I have the strength and stability to get him up.
I’ve watched videos on how to help him transfer. Hoping that he won’t stay stuck in bed, that I can let him have some shred of independence in a wheelchair.
I’ve rearranged tables and chairs, making the house more accessible so that he can retain some sense of normality.
I’ve moved his bed to the far corner, making room for the hospital bed that is being delivered as we speak.
I’ve spent days making phone calls and arranging intermittent home care and the therapy he will need.
I’ve spent hours looking for every possible item he may require, making sure it would arrive before he does. I’ve set up a raised toilet seat, a shower chair, a walker, and so many other things that I can’t even remember. There’s a pile of equipment in his room, items that I have barely ever seen, but will have to learn to use, quickly.
I’ve spent nights dreaming of how this might go, while also recognizing that I can’t plan for every occurrence.
I’ve been overcome by nerves and cried. The build up of the last week reaching a crescendo that overtook me. Frantically texting word walls to family, spoken words mixed with sobs while talking to loved ones.
I’ve been reassured by those same loved ones, as well as countless friends, many of whom I only know through this screen in front of me.
I’ve held onto hope. I’ve fought with the fear of failure. I’ve felt utterly convinced that this is both the right thing, and the wrong thing to do.
All in the same second.
I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot in the coming days.
If I can find stolen moments to type.
I don’t know what this will look like.
I don’t know how this will end.
I just know that even through the difficult relationship I have with him, even through the memories of abuse, even through the feelings of complete unworthiness he showered on me . . .
I love him.
He is my father and I firmly believe he was doing the best he knew how to do.
Even if it was horrible.
When I first planned to do this, honestly, it was because of what I’d receive in return. It was for the hidden benefits for me. The ability to see my son for a few hours as we traded off caring for him.
I told my sister how much I hated our father. How I loved him, but at the same time I hated the man he has always been.
And now I realize its not actually hate. It’s a longing for the father I deserved, its grief for the father I will never have.
I hope to give him the care that he never gave me. I hope to give him unconditional love, something I never felt I had. I hope to give him grace and understanding.
I hope to let him leave this world with his sense of dignity intact.
My dad comes home today.