A Moment I’m Not Proud Of
Posted on July 28, 2011
This is going to be a tough one to write and possibly equally tough for you to read. I don’t offer any excuses, but I will set the scene for you so that you have a better understanding–or at least as much of one as possible–as to what happened. My general week has me working outside home 3 days, 1 of which I spend the evening with both parents after work is finished. The other 4 days are spent with dad in order to give mom a break. This essentially leaves two evenings open to get anything done that I urgently need to do or places to go where I can’t take dad. It leaves me feeling a bit stretched thin and it shows from time to time as was evidenced this past weekend.
Again, no excuses. I picked dad up on Sunday and the first thing he asked to do is go for a drive down Jefferson. He enjoys those drives, but never remembers them. That irked me for some reason that day, probably because I put $50 in the gas tank and I’m not working full weeks now, so it hurts a bit more in the pocketbook and these drives aren’t short. I’d already taken him on one Friday and then Saturday, so I wasn’t in the mood to do it again on Sunday. My problem is I feel guilty if I say no. Today I said no, which made me feel guilty, which then made me angry. It’s a charming personality quirk I picked up from my guy.
Dad wanted to go to the mall and walk. Fine. But I have to watch him that much more these days because he takes off without warning, walks up to people and says something he can’t remember. We’ll ask him not to and we’ll remind him not to, then he does it anyway. It’s part of the disease. I swear, though, watching over him and trying to help maintain his dignity is becoming an uphill battle. We stopped in at Olga’s on Saturday to eat and I had to find a way to get him to stop making faces at a baby sitting behind me. Had he sat where I was, he’d have just turned around and talked to them. Bad idea and the place was too crowded to sit anywhere else.
Note to self: no more busy restaurants.
He spoke to two people there and said somewhat bizarre things, which I then politely dissuaded him from saying more. I don’t think there will be anymore restaurants, come to think of it, unless my mother is there, too. Him, I trust. The disease, I don’t.
So there was that, too.
And then the repeated stories, the barrage of non-stop comments and questions I’m simply tired of answering because they’re the same ones day after day after day. No, it’s not his fault. I’m just…tired…no, exhausted from answering them.
We came back to my place on Sunday and he was going back and forth between working on a puzzle and working on the computer. The problem we’ve had lately is that he talks to himself in what I think are very odd voices when he’s doing either, plus he growls. Don’t ask. It’s part of the voices thing and mom has been trying to get him to stop doing that.
I know now that this was the wrong time to be doing it, but I was playing around with my camera and shooting some sample video footage for a potential video blog I’d like to do. I’d start recording and speaking and he’d be growling, so I’d have to stop. Or he’d walk up to me–seeing, but not understanding what I was doing–and ask if it was okay if he used the bathroom. Then he’d ask if it was okay if worked the puzzle or walked around or went back on the computer.
I finally blew up. I blew up at him. One frustration after another came out. The thing is they needed to come out, just not at him or while he was around. There’s nothing he can do about it, but so much of it escaped. Did I feel better? Not really. It made it worse and here’s the kicker.
My mother called and came by to pick dad up. I walked him downstairs, still in a snit, and when we walked outside, my father turned to me, extended his hand and said “Thank you for a wonderful day. I really enjoy coming over here.”
My father thanked me for treating him like a piece of shit.
I barely made it into the house before I lost it. There have been days when I’ve felt like an asshole because of how things have gone with him, but this one took the cake. It forced me to sit down, seriously go over everything that had happened–in detail–and figure out what the hell was wrong with me that caused the events to unfold like they did. His doing that absolutely took the fire right out of me and what was left wasn’t a very pretty sight. How does even begin to apologize for something like that? And I was sorry. I still am. The only thing I could do, though, was look forward.
Things were very different on Monday and when he came over for dinner Tuesday night. I can’t let that happen again. I can’t let my own lack of self-control steer me into doing that again. He would never have done that to me, so where in the hell did I get off doing that to him? That’s why I can’t ever let that happen again. I can’t live knowing I’ve said some really shitty things to someone who can’t comprehend them and then thinks what happened equals a nice time. That’s not how I want his quality of life to be.
It just isn’t.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
6 Responses to “A Moment I’m Not Proud Of”
Dorien Grey says:
July 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm
Ah Kris, ya brung me t’ tears. You are guilty of the unforgivable sin of being human, and I admire you more than I can possibly say.
July 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Thank you, D. As with my father, there are times I don’t feel I deserve the kind comments you and others have been leaving.
July 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm
The only consolation is that he won’t remember it. I wish to God that same could be said for you. I feel for ya kid. ((Hugs))
July 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Thank you, Pam.
July 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm
As the gentleman stated in the previous comment, “You are guilty of the unforgivable sin of being human.” That sums it up perfectly. Thank you for sharing life in words. Caring for a parent is one of the most difficult things one can go through. For me, it was/is a very surreal experience. Thank you again for sharing. Bless you.
July 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm
It was a very humbling experience and I really want to document as much of this as I can whether the truth of it hurts me or not.