My Dad is not in great shape these days. He's on oxygen full-time now and he's looking fragile.
When I see Dad like this it makes me sad and mad. I'm sad because he's falling apart so quickly. He's not really old enough to be in such bad shape. I'm sad because our girls won't really know the Grampa who roller skated and biked all over the neighborhood. I'm sad that every time I leave him, I wonder if I'll ever see him again. I'm sad that my father is suffering, even though he doesn't complain. I'm sad that my mother is afraid to leave my father for fear of what will happen to him. She doesn't want him out of her sight and I cannot say I blame her.
At the same time, I'm mad. I'm mad because my husband and I will be married 13 years in a few months, yet our girls are only seven years old. If we had been able to conceive when we wanted to, our girls would be 12 or so. They would have known the Grampa the other cousins knew. I'm mad that my parents chose to smoke packs and packs of cigarettes each day for more than half a century. Yes, I know it's hard to quit, but we begged them for years to stop smoking. The effects of all that smoking are showing up in their health these days. (Mom's not in great shape, but she's better than Dad, which is the best thing you can say these days.) I'm mad because there isn't anything I can really do to make it better for my parents and our girls.
The girls have been talking about Grampa a lot this weekend. Part of the conversation is about the things Grampa cannot do, such as go ice skating with them. Part of it is about how we need to be careful with Grampa so we don't hurt him. A lot of this conversation centers around Oreo. We managed to teach him not to jump on anyone just in time for Thanksgiving dinner, but Oreo still managed to injure Dad. The dog banged his head on Dad's hand. Dad now has a huge, dark bruise on his hand. Part of the conversation has been about the upcoming Cinderella's Ball. In the past, Daddy and Grampa took the girls to the father/daughter dance. This year, we don't know if Grampa will be able to attend. The girls are upset about this and, at the same time, they seem to understand that Grampa isn't well. He might not be in the hospital any more, but he's still sick.
I don't want the girls' most vivid memories of my father to be those of an old man carrying an oxygen tank around. Yet, that's what will happen now. There is no going back at this point.
I'm tired because I know I cannot control the things that are making me sad and mad. I just want to figure out how to work through it all so I'm neither sad nor mad.