Just what you wanted: another depressing parent post

December 16, 2008

Didja miss me?  I was visiting my father , who I last saw in 2006, in the Sunshine State, which was only occasionally sunshiny, and I didn’t have the time to blog.

This is just as well, because we didn’t have any particularly bloggable adventures:  Wroth and Dad go to the Farmer’s Market!  Wroth and Dad take the Dog for a Limp Around the Block!  We did decorate the tree, but in that case, “we” was me, my dad’s wife and older stepdaughter, since my dad had some gnarly foot surgery last month and is still having to deal with nerve regeneration and big metal screws holding his first two toes on, which requires a lot of sitting around with his foot on the coffee table in the afternoon.

Which I guess brings me to the topic of the day:  watching your parents age.  I honestly don’t know how/if I’m going to write this, because the few times I allowed myself to “go there,” both during my visit and one the plane home, I got choked up really quickly and had to purposefully distract myself (thank you, JetBlue, for your stupid cable programming).

In addition to his Frankenfoot*, Dad is also facing preliminary cataracts, and has had small, pre-cancerous lesions removed from his long-bald, long-SPF-denied head.  These are mostly just painful and/or inconvenient.  But he has smoked since he was 13 (he’s 67 now, folks, that’s more than 50 years of smooth, refreshing carcinogens!), and I was acutely aware of how audible his breathing was after a brief clomp in his protective boot to and from the mailbox. 

Dad’s wife is kind of a health nut (like, takes 20 supplements a day and does go on about The Evils of Wheat or whatever), but she has good intentions, and she tries to get my steak-and-potatos Dad to take better care of himself.  He himself was rattled by the sudden, unexpected death of his older brother from a massive coronary three years ago, and I think he’s feeling his mortality in a way he hasn’t before.

As am I.  And it’s the feeling of it that has me in tears right now.  I can’t really go there.  Not until I have to, anyway.   I’m as old as my dad was when he lost his father, and while my father’s general health and functioning is good (the foot thing is flukey), I don’t anticipate it getting better.  All of which means I have to get down to Florida more than once every two years.

*Dear god.  DO NOT google this term looking for a funny image to put in an otherwise downer post.



  1. I condemn the critique embedded in title of this post–it is what we should be thinking about, certainly more than we tend to do. Having recently lost a nuclear family member, I’m right there with you. I don’t know why this is coming to mind but: I’m a big-loser fan of the science section of the paper, and there was an article in the last year that I keep thinking about–basically about a scientific study of the nature of happiness. One of the major findings was/is that stuff doesn’t make you happy; experiences do. So, even when the mid-life-crisis guy buys a lavish sports car or whatever, it’s not the thing/object per se that generates the happiness derives from said purchase, but the experiences it makes possible (I assume, both actual experiences–while driving–as well as the affect of success/accomplishment that it stimulates). Something to think about during the holidays. As for me, anyway, if I purchase anything this year it’s going to be experiences, not stuff.

  2. I can’t go there either. reading this brought tears to my eyes too because I completely understand the feeling. big deep breath, back to not thinking about it. I’ll send good thoughts your dad’s way…

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