I love my Pops. Everyone who knows me knows how much I care about this man. People often say to me how strong I am or brave or what courage it takes to face his illness. I never know quite know how to respond to that. I know if the tables were turned and I was the one who was ill my Dad would be there. It is the character you build with the help of your parents that makes you the person you become. My parents had their faults, who doesn’t? They also tried very hard to instill certain values in us girls. Work hard, love with an open heart, be kind to people, listen, be understanding. Give of yourself not because it is expected of you but because want to share who you are with others. Nice counts.
My Dad never graduated high school. He was from an era in time when quitting school to seek a job to help your family was encouraged. I am sure my grandparents would have loved it if all of their children had stayed in school and jumped for their share of the American dream but dreams don’t put food on your table. My Dad has always had a strong sense of taking care of one’s own family. Do what needs to be done so they are provided for. He was a great provider. I can remember him having two part time jobs to help round out his full time job just to make ends meet. My mother was really unable to hold down a job for any significant amount of time. Her mental illness always got in her way. Crippling her ability to cope with every day duties of keeping the house and kids in line. Often my Dad had to be both parents.
My Dad never gave up on my mother and loved her devotedly until the day she died. Funny, he doesn’t remember her now. Sad for me; blessing for him? Who am I to say? I only know in my heart I am glad my mother did not live to see my Pops robbed of his memory. She nearly lost her mind after my sister passed away. I sometimes think that’s why her health declined so fast after Breny died ; she was broken. Both of my parents were clingy after her passing. My phone would ring off the hook. They would often call me to make sure I was Okay. Annoying then, but now I realize how hurt they were by her passing and how afraid they were for me and my other sister. Loss was not easy for either of them.
I deal with my Dad’s loss everyday. He is still here, yet he is not. As the days go by I know my time being with him, laughing, living, crying and just being his kid are on the decline. He will not live forever despite my best efforts. I have become the parent to my parent. My parents taught me what to do. There is no bravery involved. Only love…and love can do anything. Love the people in your life while they are still here to share it.