Mom has posed the question to me lately: If Dad were still alive and didn’t have Alzheimer’s, what would he think about her being diagnosed with colon cancer? I’m sure he would be surprised, considering he was the almost lifelong smoker and Mom lived a pretty squeaky clean life. I also don’t think Dad would have been able to accept the caregiver role. Let’s face it, sometimes stereotypes are correct, and women generally are better and more natural in the caregiving role. That doesn’t mean that there are not wonderful male caregivers and females who would run from the caregiving role. I myself would never have imagined myself in a caregiving role. Maybe for animals, but definitely not for people. But here I am, and doing a decent job. (Mom and I are reaching the point where we are getting on each other’s nerves, but that’s understandable after a month.)
I’m sure Dad would be concerned and worried and would faithfully drive Mom to whatever appointments she had to go to. He would go out and get takeout food for Mom. But I can’t imagine Dad jumping in and helping with Mom’s colostomy bag. No way! And that’s not necessarily a criticism, but just the way that I see my parent’s relationship playing out if things had ended up differently.
I think Dad would have been scared to death of losing his rock. My mom pretty much managed my dad’s entire life so I think he would have done everything he could to keep her around. He would have been lost without her. Mom is more capable of managing on her own, but there’s a part of her that is still lost without Dad.