I dreamed last night I could fly. I was soaring over the ocean. Down below dolphins were jumping and I could see vast cruise ships on the horizon. It looked so refreshing and fun I had to dip down and experience the water for myself. I flew to a cove which conveniently enough had seating in the water. The kind of accommodations you often see at the hotel pools which have bars in them. My Dad was sitting in one of the seats. Immediately upon seeing him I started to cry. He looked at me and said “Don’t do that, the worst that could happen is I could die”.
This sentence jerked me from sleep to awake. I laid there and wondered if he had actually passed. Should I check my phone? Would anyone even know yet? My mother would never call in the middle of the night…no matter the situation. For a moment I was both horrified and relieved that perhaps my Dad was finally at peace.
As reality settled in and a few more minutes passed between being asleep and being awake I was able to connect with that fact that it is was only a dream. I knew something was coming. Sunday night on my yoga mat I went through an interesting sequence of emotions from intense anger and frustration which faded with the practice into sadness. I’ve been doing yoga long enough that I have learned not to question the emotions that arise from unlocking the body. I just observe, knowing whatever needs to come to consciousness, will, when the time is right or, in this case, the unconsciousness. It is no surprise since recently there has been discussion of bringing hospice in to provide the level of care he needs.
For the past several years my relationship with my Father has existed on the foundation and memories of the lifetime we had together. He is over 1000 miles away, the Parkinson’s has deteriorated his gross and fine motor skills, this makes talking on the phone a challenge as he does not speak well. The dementia has also deteriorated his mental skills, this contributes to the difficulty of him understanding who is on the phone and what is happening. We had a good a visit in July. Hubby and I spent a week in Texas and visited the care facility he is in daily. He had many lucid and aware moments and we even took him on an outing. He also had to be admitted to the hospital for a night while we were there as his vitals were yet again unstable. It is a constant roller coaster ride.
I laid in bed and thought about his situation. I wondered of his daily reality. Living in a body that no longer responds to requests and is slowly falling apart. Thinking with a mind that blurs your reality and memories and interpretations of the here and now. What does it feel like to be him? Is he at terms with his situation? Is he ready to go? My sister that lives there and sees him regularly seems to think so.
My mind wandered further back to a time that he was still mobile but suffering the symptoms of his disease. I was there on a visit and he had asked me to take him to the bank. At that time getting in and out the car was a huge challenge for him. Sometimes taking up to 20 minutes to get in or out of the vehicle. We had completed the transaction and it was time to go home. He was trying to get in my car and it was a slow process. The driver of the car parked next to us walked up. He couldn’t get in his vehicle as my Dad needed all of the space between the two cars to slowly work his way into the passenger seat. Time ticked by and the other driver stood patiently. I made eye contact, told him I was sorry. My Dad caught the gesture. He was ashamed and embarrassed and told me so on the drive home. When I look back…how dare I apologize for him. Make excuses for a disease out of his control. How awful that I made him feel small.
This was the memory that opened the flood gates. Roused the dog from the end of the bed to come cuddle on my pillow so I would have a place to dry my tears.