I realized yesterday, likely aided by 4 nights of very little sleep, that I haven’t had the space to grieve for my father. Literally, as he died, he handed me the reigns of being my mother’s caregiver. Until that moment she had his care as her focus. While she had been combative, and at times if had been left to her own devises by my father’s bedside, would have been detrimental to his care (Contraindicated, the nurses said), she still had purpose, direction and a goal. My father. The second that light extinguished, so did most of her purpose, direction and goal. In that moment, I lost both of my parents. I just didn’t know it yet.
The wake of dad’s death was absorbed in the administrative details, which I am very good at and mom is not. It was a good partnership. It kept us occupied. It also soothed her concerns to have what questions she did have answered. She didn’t retain important information that wasn’t on her priority list. “How much am I worth?” for instance!
As the months have flown past and I learn more about mom’s level of functioning and how I must juggle, cope, manage and take care of myself, it has become abundantly clear I no longer have a mother-daughter relationship with my mother. It is so time absorbing, if one is going to surf well the time a parent in this condition is still living independently, that between my mom job, my family and nursing my wee business, there hasn’t been time to let in the full scope of feelings surrounding the loss of my father. Sure, when I’m fragile, like yesterday, it clubs me on the head and I spend 75 minutes honoring those feelings. 75 minutes every other month for 10 months for someone I knew, loved and cherished for 50 years is a trickle. There’s a flood building up. I need to find a dry field.