My sister and I visited my sickly father on Saturday. It is a ghastly
long drive from the east end of Long Island to Nassau County, Uniondale to be
exact. The only time I have ever been to Uniondale was to go to events at
Nassau Coliseum (think Rush concert). We borrowed my Mom’s car which is
plastered with dog themed stickers so it makes me look like a crazy dog person
when I drive it. My Dad has moved out of the home he has lived in since he had
a stroke (over 20 years ago); his parents’ house; the house he grew up in. He
still suffers complications due to the stroke and the bathroom in the house is
on the second floor making access ever more difficult. One of his medications
was causing him to lose his balance. He spent some time in the hospital; some
in a nursing home. They would not release him unless he had someone to assist
in his care. His caretaker, a woman from Guatemala, had offered to have him
move into an extra room in her home some time ago. He decided it was time to
take her up on it. This all sounded really sketchy to me. It must be because I
am such a pessimist.
The house my Dad is living in now, Rosie’s house, is large, full of
life with dogs and kids and a fenced in yard. My Dad didn’t look great but he
looked better than I thought he would. The visit with my Dad went much like
every visit we have had with him since my parents got divorced when I was about
12 years old. My Dad says stuff and then there is silence. I say something and
then there is silence. After a while my Dad cycles back through stories he has
already told us since we have been there. I run out of things to say. The
problem is that we have never really had a relationship with our Dad and I feel
like it is just too late at this point. Honestly, the best conversation I had
at the house was with Rosie. She sat down with us to eat our obligatory pizza
lunch. It was interesting because she kind of spoke for him at times. I found
myself liking her a bit. My Dad is selling his house and I expressed interest
in stuff like my Grandmother’s most excellent vintage kitchen table and chairs.
They are beautiful and sentimental to me. She understood and we talked about it
while my Dad only spoke about items, items that I did not know existed (a
potbellied stove?), which he had already earmarked for other family members. The
sketchiest thing that I could say about Rosie was that she is selling Amway and
my Dad is taking the vitamins she sells.
Thing is, I can’t blame my dad alone for the failure to communicate.
Many, many people in my life have told me that I don’t talk about anything. I
am tight lipped. This frustrates those in relationships with me. Attic boxes
reveal those in prior relationships with me complaining about this. Pleading to
be let in. It has not happened and may never. This is why Keanu loves my blog.
When my Mom complained that I never talked to her, he told her to read my blog.
He asks me when I am writing in it again. I wonder why it is that I can write
it down and put it out there, all this stuff, but cannot discuss it, talk about
it, reveal myself in person. Hiding behind the words is so much easier for me.
Easier for a full reveal to complete strangers than a one-on-one to my loved
ones. A sad commentary on myself I believe. Likely resulting from keeping
things in for too long; all blocked up; bottlenecked like a bad traffic jam. It
seems that my release is being handled slowly, like opening a bottle of seltzer,
which I am getting lots of practice doing here in NY.