My dad is ill. He has been for some time.
We are not sure exactly what is wrong (not yet) but he is the kind of ill that comes with words like “hospice” and “five wishes” and “medical durable power of attorney”. It has been emotional (and no doubt will continue to be so) and a bit challenging. I am a strong supporter of dying with dignity and supporting ones right to choose how they live out their days with a terminal illness. You would be surprised how many people DO NOT believe this. I have spent days researching, calling, counseling, crying, talking, thinking and planning for my mother, my father, my family and how we will manage after he is gone…whenever that may be.
And I have thought of my daughter. Even in the midst of intense emotional turmoil, she pops up in my thought stream. When he dies, do I tell her? When I draft the obituary (I am likely the one who will do that), how many grandchildren do I say he is survived by? These thoughts and more caused me to pull over the other day. Something about that dashboard confessional, the music of TSO (An Angel Came Down) and thoughts of my dying father that never got to meet my first born child, his first born grandchild, were too much to bear.
A friend, a fellow first mother that lost her adoptive mother (yeah, she is an adoptee AND a first mom) some time ago told me that whatever I do, I should “make my peace”. I assured her I have made my peace with my dad. He can die with no unfinished business between us. He apologized to me years ago for the loss of my daughter from our family. He told me, in his own stilted way, that he was sorry. That sentiment alone healed a world of hurts for me. Even before that day I had come to grips that my father was not a good dad, not the dad I dreamed of, but he was the only dad I had. He was a product of his own upbringing, his own difficult birth and life in WWII Poland. Peace was found for us long ago.
And yet it does make me sad, still, that my dad never got to meet her.
I am uncertain if I will tell her when he dies. My hope is that I will be allowed to say he is survived by fourteen grandchildren. It is the truth.