Every year is something. The year my house got crushed. The year we moved. The year I gave birth.
This has been the year of taking care of my parents.
And let me tell you: It’s not pretty.
This is a stage in my life. It won’t always be this way, I know that. But it’s where I am now. A stage in many people’s lives: when your parents die or approach death or face death and how you’re there with them, accompanying them, on the path to death.
And it’s terrifying.
A year ago, my father had an alcoholic stroke and then a psychotic break. My mother served her second husband divorce papers and moved to escape him. He died two weeks later after she left him. My father-in-law Chase died. My mother-in-law is showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Everybody is falling apart. Everybody is calling or coming over or contacting me in some way saying: Help me, help me, help me.
Things have settled down a little. The fall of 2017 and winter of last year were the worst.
Now it is one year later. It gets better and then it gets really bad again.
My father is completely out of money but he still spends it like blinking. My sister is subsidizing his income so that he doesn’t end up on the street. But it can’t go on forever. He’ll bleed her dry. She has children, a mortgage, college educations to pay. It can’t go on this way.
My mom sleeps all day and comes over to my house and tells me how depressed she is and that she thinks of suicide. I tell her to see a psychiatrist or call a help line. I tell her, “You can’t say these things to me.” And she says, “I know, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” But she’s said this before and then I get furious and drink too much and don’t let her come over for a while.
I don’t know how to write about this, because I’m in the middle of it. Because I can’t see my way out. I don’t know how any of this is going to end. I only know it won’t end well. Death is the only ending for us, of course. And how we get there.
If we get there gracefully or painfully or terribly. And how much we lose getting there.