Dad - parenting your parents

it’s interesting when the man of terror – the one with the big hands and even larger voice – the object of abject misery – is a mere shell of what he once was.

i don’t know what to make of it. he made my earlier years a nightmare. he was abusive on so many levels, and not in a “poor little middle class white kid” kind of way – but a real abusive – the kind where courts and police get involved, and as an adult, you attend counselling and have 500 self help books on your shelf in an effort to rid your mind of inflicted hurts you’d never asked for.

i have long since forgiven him; there was never a question that i would. i had to disappear for awhile and just be left alone. i went to the opposite end of the planet to get away, with grandiose plans to make a great life, meet a nice person and settle into a fun, healthy and dynamic existance.

that didn’t happen – not right away, and in fact – even though my existance here became good, i found that i’d be daydreaming of being home, having some laughs and folding back into the program as i knew it would be. the forgiveness that grew was born from pure maturity and understanding. so now it’s exponentially hard, after all that personal growth, to have to stay away because someone else has dictated that i remain, while life is deteriorating at home.

and now my family needs me. REALLY needs me. they’re not the same overtly capable individuals that they were; things take longer, medication lists get bigger, life is a lot harder and there’s no one there to help. i’m IT. i’m very close to my parents, even my dad – although of course we’ll always have our ‘moments’ and we’ll scrap it out verbally – each demanding respect – but his role has changed to that of the child.

that’s the part that i find amazing (and not in a good way). it makes me sad, but determined to be there for him and my mom. i don’t want a 3 day notice that he’s ‘done’. that’s not fair – not after everything we’ve all been through. his heart is in the lower percentiles of function, his knees and hips are shot (at least i know that i can outrun and out-yell him this time around), and he’s quickly becoming more and more dependent for day to day life needs. i want to help sort it out, make him and my mom comfortable and enjoy their retirement years…

it’s my job to take the reversal and simply deal with that…to parent my dad. he is that scared child i used to be.

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