Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 15: Like Drowning, My Dad, Incredible Guilt

Ives and Annie slept, entangled in each other's arms, their daughter sleeping alone.  Ives wold get up a half-dozen times a night to make sure that she was resting.  And every so often he would push the door open, intending to turn the radio off, but would find himself standing silently over her, his heart breaking whenever he would think about how much Robert's death must have pained her.  And he would sometimes move closer, and, brushing aside the hair that fell over her brow, plant a tender kiss on her forehead.  He would hear her sigh . . . You know what it was like?  It was like drowning.

This paragraph comes shortly after Ives' son, Robert, is murdered.  It's always a difficult passage for me to read because it's full of so much pain.  I have done what Ives is doing:  standing by my daughter's bed, watching her sleep.  It's that parental impulse of wanting to protect your child from any harm, any heartbreak.  And not being able to.

My dad visits my sister every day in the nursing home.  He drives there for lunch and stays several hours.  It's really all he can do to help her.  He doesn't understand medicine or surgery or treatment.  In fact, I would say that he has a severe distrust of doctors and nurses and the medical establishment.  Understandably.  The healthcare system for which my sister worked fired her for getting a prolonged sickness.  The doctors have really done nothing to help her.  Now, she's looking at a long-term stay in a nursing home.

My dad comes from the same generation as Ives.  Hardworking.  Devout.  Protective.  My sister's situation is tearing him apart.  He knows she can't come home in her current state, but he doesn't want to see her flat on her back in a hospital bed all day, every day, either.  As a father, it's a terrible position to be in.

I have incredible guilt at the moment.  I feel like I should be doing more to help my sister, and, yet, I have to work and teach.  My family depends on my paychecks for survival.  I don't have a whole lot of freedom in my life.  I want to be her advocate, hound the lawyer and social worker and doctors.  Yet, I can't do it all on my lunch break or after work.

It feels like all I can do is be like Ives:  stand by my sister's bed, watch her sleep, pray.

Saint Marty feels like he's drowning a little bit tonight, too.

Don't know how long I can hold my breath

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