Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cry, baby, cry

When you've got to get it out.

"Hi Pumpkin," he manages to sputter. His voice is barely audible, barely recognizable.
He only knows my name because my Mom tells him it is me on the phone.
I ask him a question.
He doesn't answer.
I hear him choking on the other end of the phone.
He chokes on everything these days.
He's labeled "comfort care" but that doesn't mean there is any end in sight.

"Have I been laying here for five years?" he asked my Mom the other day.
No, it's been two and half. But it must seem like an eternity.

"Oh Dad I miss you," I say, tearing up.
I miss the man you were, the man I wish you could still be.

You are trapped, trapped in a shell that has utterly betrayed you. You are paralyzed. You can barely eat. Your mind doesn't work anymore, for the most part.

The only thing that keeps me from wailing sometimes is the idea that a friend gave me, that maybe, if we're lucky, in his mind he is out jogging, or riding his bike, or riding his tractor, or being with his dog.

Not trapped. Not lying in a bed, unable to do anything for himself anymore. Unable to make sense of the world around him. And wondering if he's been laying there for five years. It must feel like one million years.

I was exhausted yesterday. A busy day at work, a trying time at mealtime with one baby who just.doesn' and was tired and doesn't feel good and was throwing food and crying and as we pushed their stroller for our regular evening pre-bath stroll, I just felt the tears rolling down my face, recalling the conversation I had had just an hour prior with my Dad, as he laid in the hospital ER, dehydrated to the point of a blood pressure of 70/40.

I could barely choke the words out to the Mr.

"Is this what the sandwich generation means?" I want to run home and help take care of my Dad but I can't leave my children. I want to be everything for everyone and fix everything.

Cry, baby, cry.
When you have to get it out.

My children are fine. The eating issues will pass. They will sleep better. I will sleep better. My Dad will not get better and that is a fact. We have been home with them four months. My Dad has laid paralyzed for two and half years. We are planning their first birthdays. That is something to celebrate.

I am definitely feeling sandwiched. It's my new sensation I guess.

Love, baby, love.
It's written all over your face.

*I will revisit my lucky post, and some of the comments, when I can. I have so much more to say.


  1. I totally get your sandwich generation sentiment. I am still only one side of that sandwich, but I get it. Love your friend's thought about your Dad running free in his mind...

    Here if you need anything at all.

  2. really feeling for you. hang in there.

  3. PS - happy almost 1st birthdays to the babies! That is something to celebrate! XO

  4. I'm so sorry about your dad. I hadn't heard of the sandwich generation, but I guess that's where I'll be eventually as well. I've given this thought since I'm an "old" mom and all.

    Hang in there. I'm thinking of you.

  5. thinking of you my sweet friend. You are so eloquent in your capturing of what I imagine must be very emotional and confusing times. Sending much love to and your father

  6. I am so sorry for the despair I hear in your words. What a cruel thing a stroke is. I do hope that your dad's mind takes him to places that are pleasant and familiar to him. And by all means, cry. There is something renewing about our tears that let us face another day. Thinking of you...

  7. always thinking of and missing you. i hate that you are so far away.
    it feels like 5 years to me too, daddy MTL.
    im so sorry, a.

  8. I'm so, so sorry you are having to go through this. It must be horrible. Thinking of you tons.

  9. Ugh. I hate that you never got to have the whole picture.

  10. beautiful post. you've captured what is so, so hard about being our age, in our stage of life and having an ailing or dying parent. the difficulty of holding all of it, its contradictions as you go forward with your life.


  11. I'm so sorry for what you are going thru. I am a friend of CDG and BIBC. I work in end of life care. If there is anything I can do to help you or your family please let me know. I would be honored too.

    Know what you are saying and experiencing is totally normal. And yes, you are part of that sandwich generation. I wish there was some magical gift or words of wisdom that I could bestow upon you, but all I can say is what is happening is normal. Feel your emotions, cry, get it out.

    I'll be thinking of you and your family.

  12. Oh, Mrs. Two Lines. How I wish I could change it. Sending you a big hug. Wishing your dad comfort and peace and escape (if just mentally) from his body.

    Happy National Adoption month to you four! Perfect time to celebrate their birthdays!

  13. It's heartbreaking! Having the next generation around definitely helps in some ways but it doesn't take away the pain of losing a parent - especially not in the slow, cruel way it's happening to you. I too love your idea of all the things your dad might be doing in his mind - and I'm certain that it's true, at least for part of the time, for some dementia sufferers. My great aunt had altzheimers and there were times when she was a little girl again, living in the country with her parents and their dogs and cats - bless her, she thought my mum and dad were HER mum and dad.

    That's a lovely offer from "Ms2Mrs..back to Ms" - I'd take all the help and support you can get - you've had a hard time (even good things like adoption are hugely stressful - as you'll know all too well!).

  14. Oh no, that's so sad. Big hugs!!

  15. I dont' know what to say about your Dad. There are no words.

    I utterly sympathise on the 'not eating' stuff. How is it that it's SO difficult when a child doesn't eat? It makes me crazy. CRAZY. Frustrated, sad, upset. CRAZY. Our girl eats not much, but our boy is absolutely beyond.... and there is NOTHING I can do about it! I'm always repeating to myself: providing food is my job, eating food is his job. But aggghhhh, some days it drives me around the bend. Sending you hugs.

  16. I am really sorry about your dad. Sending lots of love
    Amy x

  17. breaks my heart, for you, for him. beautifully written post, which leaves me feeling your pain. ((((hugs))))

  18. I'm so sorry. I know how difficult it is, and I wish there were words that would ease the pain, for all of you. Sending you hugs...

  19. You're not alone. My dad died two months after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer back in May 2010. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 nasopharyngeal cancer this year. And I'm her sole caregiver. It. Is. So. Hard. being the "sandwich" generation. My thoughts are with you. Hugs.