Be Strong

I used to have this idea that you’d get to a certain age and you’d just wrestle adulthood away from your parents. Somehow you’d make them see that they were incapable of making decisions for themselves and, though it would be hard and would suck, you would now make decisions for them.

This isn’t always how it goes, though. Of course. My parents don’t feel incapable of making decisions for themselves.

My dad heard the doctor say that he should try to get back to his regular life and he’s driving again. He and my mom called me from the van last night on the way home from my grandma’s.

I feel sometimes like I’m talking to two people in a slow-motion suicide pact. But, honestly, if I knew they knew they were Thelma-and-Louise-ing it, it would be easier for me to accept. I’d hate it, but I could respect it.

It’s the not knowing if they know they’re deliberately trying to die that’s so grueling. It feels like, if they don’t know that’s what they’re doing, someone–me–should step in and stop them.

I don’t know how to do that.

I have this recurring dream that I have woken up back in Illinois and my life is just following my parents around taking care of them and I have this sense in the dream that I have left something good behind or lost it, but I can’t remember for the life of me what it is.

Which isn’t deeply cryptic.

I grew up expecting to be trapped in Illinois. I have, for my whole adult life, felt like I had slipped out of some unfortunate fate. And now I have this sense that fate is coming for me, that I’m going to end up back where I was destined to be. And it makes me so fucking miserable.

There aren’t any stories about destiny that I know of where it’s not a good thing–you are destined for greatness, after all. There’s no hero’s journey where you’re destined to be the small, lonely caretaker of people who have a hard time imagining anything better for you.

I mean, I know “destiny” is the same level of bullshit as “deserves.” But knowing and not getting caught up in it are two different things.

5 thoughts on “Be Strong

  1. If the doctor wants your father to get back to his normal life, why is his driving a problem? Did you think he was having problems with driving before the heart stuff?

  2. Have you ever thought about going to group therapy for children of abusive/narcissistic parents? You are definitely not alone. It might help if you could talk to other people dealing with this stuff. I see stories like yours in advice columns all the time.

  3. Have you read “Being Mortal”? It doesn’t have any scenarios in it that are exactly what you’re dealing with, but it comes close.

  4. B, I understand that you don’t trust your father’s version of things. And you’re probably right not to. But if his health was in as dangerous a case as you think it is, the doctors would also have discussed issues like driving with your mother, along with other things related to his care. Maybe the thing to do is for you to have a talk with her about it–if she can tell you definitely what she was told, it should go some way to either relieving you of some of this worry or giving you an entry to ask her whether they are trying to die faster.

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