Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sometimes I feel like a child

We saw dh's dad on dd's first bday.
We were already at the restaurant, and they beamed when they saw us through the glass. I didn't know until it was too late that my face had fallen.
Dad asked "What's wrong?" as soon as they were in the door. I wanted to say "I don't want you to die." Instead I said "I'm having a hard day." They attributed this to knowing that Littleone was turning one without a family to celebrate her, and this was part of the reason that I was feeling so glum. But mostly, I was struck by the disparity between Dad's outward appearance of health and happiness and my awareness of what is happening inside, and the childishness of my response. They were having a "good day" optimistic about the potential for this relatively new form of chemotherapy, and all I could say was "I'm having a hard day." My hard days must seem trivial, and if they loved me less they might have wondered how I could possibly say "I'm having a hard day" side by side the "hard days" he has.
But it was a lot better -- I think -- than "I just don't want you to die."


Anonymous said...

eh, you made me cry... hang in there... and something i've learned-- you don't always have to be strong for them.

I'm sure he would be touched by how much he matters to you.


abebech said...

Thanks so much. It means a lot to me/us that you understand.

Being Me said...

As a mother in reunion for 18 years, I endorse telling the truth, even when it hurts. Moving forward is a lifelong process. Our best moves are usually based on truth.

abebech said...

Thank you. I know you're right about telling the truth, and I tell my children that they can tell me anything no matter how hard it is, but here I am having a hard time figuring out when to say it and when to filter.

Anonymous said...

Your last comment gives me an idea: that maybe when our parents get old and sick, we do a roll-reversal (to some degree)--so that wanting to protect your FIL from your fears is entirely natural. You are the one who's supposed to be strong and together.

Except that you can't be all the time, and that despite your new role as caregiver (even if you're not actively giving physical care), he is an adult, so it's more complex.

Your instincts were probably correct not to bring it up at that moment, but a heart-to-heart might be in order, just the two of you or FIL, you, and dh. Lola is right--he will most likely see it as an expression of love and care.

This all sounds so hard--


Journada said...

I have just been catching up after nearly 4 months of being out of touch. I am so sorry to read about dh's dad. I can assure you it is not from want of thought that I have not been reading. Today is almost 2 months from losing my mom. There is no easy (or right) way to grieve--even if that is in advance. Give yourself grace. Sometimes children get it best. :-)

love and hugs to you and dh,