Here I Come To the Rescue

“Since we can’t change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” Nikos Kazantzakis

I’ve been taking care of my dad over the last two weeks. He’s fine; as he likes to tell me, for an 87-year-old man with one foot on a banana peel. The man missed his calling. He should have been a comedian. My dad’s regular homecare person went on holidays and the various replacements, in the first few days, were inconsistent in when they showed up. This can spell disaster both for my dad’s failing memory and his need to get his medication consistently. So, out I drove to Calgary. 

I realize I’m a bit of a rescuer. Okay, for those who know me, stop laughing now.

If my dad looked a little pale, slept in too long, forgot something I’d told him a few minutes ago, limped a bit more than usual, I was quick with my questions, are you okay? How do you feel? Why don’t you sit down? Do you want to lie down?

I must have jumped to these inquiring conclusions quite a few times. My dad, of late, has been responding with, I’m not dead yet or you’ll be the first to know.

Gee, and here I thought I was being helpful.

And, of course, this is my problem. I’m helpful. I’ve been cleaning his house according to his schedule and standards, calling and making the appointments he needs, dragging him out of the house for coffee, walks, events, and doing everything I think might make his life slightly easier, a tad fuller. And when he complained he wasn’t totally useless I redoubled my efforts and told him he could take care of himself when I returned to Whistler. Right now enjoy the break.

To these words, my dad shook his head and smiled to placate me. You’re a good daughter, he said more than once, and each time it left me wondering.

Wouldn’t a good daughter let him do whatever he thinks he can do?

My dad has his routines. Yes, he’s admitted he gets lonely at times, but for the most part he’s happy to be in his own home with his memories. Your mother is close to me here. I see her. It’s all I need.

I see his life shrinking away. He sees my mother. Somehow and against what he or anyone of us believed was possible, he built a life for himself to cope with her death.

Overall he’s fine.

I’m the one who is losing it. Rescuing him helps me ignore what I know is inevitable. It’s my way of changing the eyes that unfortunately see reality all too clearly.

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