living in two different places

it’s not an easy place to be…around my mom.  she’s totally dependent on others, and my dad can’t help her.  he’s got a bad back, and a heart that been around for 88 years.  he called me last night, “i don’t feel well.  i think i’m having a heart attack.” i tried to stay calm, tried to walk him through some breathing exercises, listened to what he was feeling. my instinct told me it was anxiety and stress. he had had a rough day with my mom the day before…a day when i had to leave them without a nurse in the apartment with them for almost two hours, but a button they can push in an emergency.

it would take me way too long to get there in time, so i called our day nurse, asked her to drive him to urgent care while the night nurse watched my mom.  thankfully, he was fine – stress, and a heart that was working hard.  he needs to see a cardiologist today. 13 years ago my dad had an 8 by-pass open heart surgery.  yes. 8 arteries were clogged, and he survived.

i’m remembering what it was like lining up babysitters, changing diapers, wiping tushes, and snot.  it’s such a similar place. my mom’s drool is constant. and her need to be in the bathroom is sometimes bewildering. the feeling that someone needs you, that you can’t leave is overwhelming.  so you interview sitters, or caregivers, and you develop trust that they’ll take good care of the ones you love so you can have a bit of freedom, a life without the dependents holding on in fear.

but there’s a part of me that wants to be there to make sure they’re getting the love that they’re craving, to give them the love and care they gave me when i was the dependent one.

my little ones never wanted to see me leave, just as my parents don’t want to see me drive away.  and just like my kids would stand at the window sometimes crying, my dad stands on his balcony and waves, “don’t forget to drive by this way,” he tells me before i leave his apartment.  i can hear his fear, and i give him a hug.  facing the fear, and having the faith that the love that we share will always be with us.

and just as i drive away to return to my other reality, i find myself wanting to go back to face the fear and give them love, and so i do.