Back to the Beginning: Father’s Day and Dysfunctional Families (posted June 21, 2009)


I wonder if there were classifications for dysfunctional families just where we would fit in, mild, moderate, severe?

I visited my Dad in the rehab facility he’s at since his fall. He’s not the type of person who likes to be slowed down (yes, I can relate!) Needless to say, we have quite a bit in common, which is strange for me being half his age.

It can actually be kind of funny because he does repeat himself and then ask if he’s told me that before and I can honestly say I don’t know. I begin to believe us Brain Injured folks can be good company sometimes!

I watched the Mariner’s game with him which seemed fitting since I got stuck in the traffic on the way there. The Mariner’s won, and it was a good game, but I had a migraine so looking at the screen was a little much. For the most part, I looked outside and listened to the game.

I wish I could be at a place where a baseball game is enjoyable. I think being in survival mode, well, everything changes. I’m going to food banks, DSHS, and trying to get help keeping my home, those players are paid millions, I am poverty-stricken and in threat of losing my home.

We’re not a demonstrative type of family that expresses emotions or ever talk about feelings so when my Dad started crying, that startled me. He took off his glasses, and said, “Every…sob…sob…everyone has a family…sob…sob…but I don’t.”

I put my hands on his arm and said, “Yes you do. You have a family. What am I chopped liver?” That made him smile, he said I was the best and apologized for feeling sorry for himself.

I get it. I think in any situation there are a myriad of things taking place. I understand the voice of depression. I understand the loneliness and isolation. I get it. It’s not easy and I told him that being in rehab, no matter what anyone says, sucks!

I had hoped my youngest brother would show up, but he’s a big baseball fan and chances are he was at the game. I left at 5pm to catch the 5:30 ferry and he still hadn’t come by the time I left. I asked Dad what he would do for the remainder of the night, he said he didn’t know.

I also get that our family has never been, never will be close knit like I always wanted growing up. As my best friend’s Mom said, “Fractured families don’t work.” I have had a longing for a close knit family all my life, I think it’s pretty staggering to look back at and realize how big a void that has been.

Everyone needs support and love, especially those lonely shut-ins like the elderly and disabled. When I did go to church, it was a big thing to be either on the worship team or be a worship leader. No one ever says they hope they get picked to minister to the disabled or elderly, do they? Not much glory or pride in that. But the need remains (and it’s a HUGE need!) and ministry is there too.

The facility Dad is in in quite lovely, but it’s still not home. There are no homey reminders, no belongings of his own. I understand how difficult it is to be patient and wait for healing if it ever comes. It reminds me of the last time I saw my Grandmother, similar sort of bare accommodations. A reminder we’re all dying.

I really wish we could have done something for Dad today, I did take him some roses from my yard and a card. Had I any forethought or knew how he was doing, etc., we could have made arrangements I think, to take him out for dinner. I would have to have at least one of my brother’s there to help get Dad in and out of the car. I regret not even thinking of taking him out in his wheelchair for a little fresh air.

I don’t know, this kind of work, this seeing other people’s needs is very easy for me. I wish I did more, but have to accept my going and being there was enough. It was hard to see him crying, knowing his own parenting skills, or lack of, helped form us into a distant, fractured, dysfunctional family.

We don’t talk much, never really have. I really don’t think any of us are meant to be cooped up and isolated, whether we be elderly or disabled. We still need the warmth and loving energy of people who care enough to love us where we’re at. No matter what, we still need to know we’re special and loved…but it has to be authentic!

It’s time for me to go settle in for the night, the trip to see him is 4-6 hours just in travel time to get there and back.  I’m off to take a bath, drink some night time tea, and see how sleep is tonight. I’ve run out of my sleep meds, requested a refill but it hasn’t been filled yet…and I see I was just faxed a report to work on. Lord willing I can get out of bed tomorrow I’ll work on it then.

Good night folks, Happy Father’s Day. And extra helpings of blessings and peace to those for whom Father’s Day brings pain, regret, sorrow.

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About Resilient Heart

TBI x3, that's me! If you had a Traumatic Brain Injury (or Injuries!) and knew you might not remember dates, events, people, etc., would you live each day differently? Would you give more, forgive more, heal more? I am. The statistics for me developing Dementia or Alzheimer's is a high possibility - one, because of the TBIs, and two - because I'm genetically predisposed. Come with me as this present moment is all we know we have... Wishing you all the best - today & always. Blessings, Love & Peace, RH
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