AND THEN IT HIT ME

Last night, my Mother turned to me and asked if she could ask me a personal question. If you know the relationship that my Mother and I have, you’ll know that we lay everything out on the table. There isn’t much we can’t say to one another. She is truly one of my best friends. So, to have her feeling like she had to ask permission to ask this question, I thought, “Boy, this oughta be good.”

And it was.

She asked, “Why don’t you ever go see your Father?”

Immediately the words “Because I still have a hard time with it” escaped from my mouth. It surprised me, but I’m not sure it was a shock to my Mother. Dad’s been on my mind a lot this week, with the sudden passing of his good friend involved in a tragic motorcycle accident. It’s just something that we never really talked about. Of all the things we are comfortable talking about, this was the unspoken.

I’m glad she caught me off guard. I may have answered differently if I had more time to think about it. I’ve never been afraid to admit to anyone else that I still find visiting my Father in a nursing home very hard. I guess admitting it to my Mother seemed like I was preaching to the choir. Mom’s super dedicated. When she was still working, she would drive 30 km or so to work every day, after work several times a week she would then drive 45 minutes to visit my Father in the hospital, then drive another 30 minutes home. Now that she’s retired, she’s still going a couple of times during the week, and Saturday mornings.

I guess I felt like whining and moaning about how hard it was to go visit my Father would be laughable to my Mom. Of all people, she knew just how hard it was. Seeing a man that used to always be on the go, now sitting in a wheelchair all day, every day. In a nursing home, unable to speak, where someone has to feed him, bathe him, dress him, and change his diaper. I’m not certain he knows who I am. Maybe he does. Perhaps he can still have all the thoughts he was able to have before the accident, just unable to communicate. Imagine; being a prisoner inside your own body.

My Father and I had our share of ups and downs. We fought a lot, because we are so much alike. Stubborn as hell. Opinionated. Try to convince me otherwise. I think we fought so much, because he saw a lot of himself in me, and I think that terrified him, being a bit of a hellion himself. In the months prior to his accident, we had spent a lot of quality time together and we were finally starting to see eye to eye, getting along, and (speaking for myself) enjoying our time together. I feel like his motorcycle accident robbed me of some of the best years with my Dad. Both loving motorcycles, and the feeling of freedom that comes with riding one, I can’t help but think of all the tours we would have went on. All the bluegrass and folk festivals we would have gone to. The things he would’ve taught me. Being a Millwright machinist, he could pretty much do anything and make anything. The hunting we would have done together, the fishing. If I dwell on that stuff too much, I find myself going to a really dark place. I don’t know if anyone would understand it, except maybe another woman that lost her Father at a very influential and tumultuous time in their life.

AND THEN IT HIT ME;

My Mother was a young woman that lost her Father at a crucial time. Not that there is a “good” time to lose your Dad. I think she must know how difficult it is.

There’s a photo of my Mother putting flowers on her Father’s grave. She’s pregnant with either my brother or myself. So, I know she knows how difficult it is. I am in awe of her strength, and it makes me wonder why I have issues making progress with this particular aspect of my life. I’m an adventurous and relatively outgoing person, but this is my dirty little secret. Surprisingly enough, I’m not having difficulty sharing this. It feels good to type it out and get it off my chest. This isn’t me trying to say I’ve had an epiphany. It’s still going to be hard. It might always be hard. I’m just glad I have a Mom that understands why I feel the way I feel, that cares enough to ask me a tough question, but knows when to leave it be.

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