Tag Archives: health

Holidays without Dad

This is the time of year where families start planning their holiday agendas. Who will go to who’s house on Thanksgiving and Christmas. For me, this time of year only makes me think about how the beginning of the worst period of my life began Thanksgiving week.

Of course, though I’m the ultimate pessimist, even I did not predict that Mom would end up with colon cancer six months after Dad passed. Or that I would have to say farewell to two beloved pets in that time span as well.

So of course I’m thankful that Mom is still around and actually doing quite well. But since Mom and her health has consumed my life since July, I don’t feel that I actually was able to fully process my Dad’s death. Certainly, it’s been a lot for any only child to take, with one parent passing, and one parent narrowly escaping death.

Mom and I have agreed that we will have a non-traditional Thanksgiving. Mom will probably have pasta, and I will have pizza. I remember last year, Dad was already in the hospital for Thanksgiving. I cooked a small traditional meal for myself, worried that at any moment, I could receive that call that he was passing. That first scare came the very next day, on Black Friday, when I was at work trying to help holiday shoppers find the best deals.

For some reason, or perhaps just by chance, Dad kept hanging in there until five days before Christmas. Ironically, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and one of the last times Dad was reasonably healthy.

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A loyal companion gone

Mom has been missing Dad a lot lately. Now that she’s back home, she misses his presence even more than before. 40 years of daily contact is not easy to replace with something or someone new.

Over the past year, when Dad was in the nursing home, she learned to craft a new life for herself. It wasn’t easy or ideal, but she had her health then. Now that her health is in jeopardy, I think she is relying more on the good memories, before Dad’s dementia, when they had their boring yet comforting life together.

Of course, Mom had to live with a different version of Dad, the one with Alzheimer’s, for a few years. Even though that was very difficult, she had someone to take care of and protect, which made her feel needed.

Even though Mom and Dad were opposites in many ways, it is clear to me now how they fit together like puzzle pieces. Now that Dad is gone, Mom is finding it difficult to feel complete and whole again.

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Filed under Memories