Today is Father’s day. There are a slew of you today who are celebrating, some who are mourning and some who are fighting. I don’t mean fighting in the sense of arguing, though some of you might be. I mean fighting in the sense of fighting for your father’s life, for his sanity. I am one of the latter.
My morning started with a physical manifestation of stress. A flurry of chemicals being released from my brain as the anxiety literally explodes down to my nerve endings. I feel a grip on my chest, an icy hand that only comes before a panic attack. I know that in a few hours I am going to have to get into the car and drive the hour it takes to see my father. In that hour a million thoughts will pass through my head ranging from turn around to pull over and sob like a baby. I know that I will have to walk into a cave of negativity and remain there until I fulfill my daughterly duty. The person who helped give me life is lacking, his torment so obvious and overwhelming that it deflates my heart.
I try and keep track of the swings. Moods like tidal waves. Natural disasters, they don’t just occur on the earth, they happen in people. The past couple weeks have been high and mighty for him. His eyes glow like that of a child. He beams like Christmas morning. He makes purchases and revels in his goods. Every package that comes in the mail or a deal too good to pass up fuels this mania. Everything is justified. Control is reinstated. His brain pumps serotonin to the point of depletion. For a small amount of time he feels happiness again, but the feeling is fleeting. What goes up must come down.
Down and further still. A crash so hard it’s psyche shattering. I’ve seen it happen so many times now. A complete surrender, where one lays down to the forces and wishes for death. Trash piles up, bugs collect, negativity stews and will is lost. These are the darkest times, and one is upon him now.
I feel like I am going into spiritual battle. I close my eyes and try to make a force field of white light all around me. I try and project all of my strength and focus all of my energy on giving love and support and not letting the dark take me as well. When people experience such weakened states of will I firmly believe it is an open invitation for the things we consider to be evil to take over. I’ve seen it, it’s looked through his eyes and said horrible things to me. Any glimmer of love leaves. The only emotions that become evident are that of hate and anger. I’m sure there is a medical explanation for this occurring, early onset Alzheimer’s or dementia. A deteriorated brain state can cause all sorts of erratic behavior, but there is something more sinister in the underlying details.
I have never seen an environment so perfect for birthing chaos. Things are strewn about and piled in every corner. The smell is dank and pungent. Water damage is slowly laying its claim on everything. Mold grows in abundance and at an alarming rate. A total lack of organization keeps the energy flow to a minimum. During this time of summer the air has a heaviness, the icy grip on my chest turns into an elephant sitting on me. It’s so dark, shades drawn and lamps lit only by low wattage bulbs, giving everything a dreamlike glow. The TV shines the brightest and also feeds the hate, increases the paranoia. A perfect storm is brewing in his house.
Mental illness, drug abuse, guilt, resentment, anger, grief. Over and over and over again. My eyes hurt from watching the patterns unfold time and time again. Stages and cycles, hope restored then lost. My daddy. My dad. I’ve been chasing him around and trying to save him for years. I love with my whole entire heart but I’m reaching a wall. It’s a wall I didn’t think actually existed, one that I’ve had to build to protect myself. He doesn’t know that he is hurting me so bad. He doesn’t even know he is hurting himself. I’m scared for him, I’m trying to place my hands around his remaining light so a small breeze doesn’t snuff it out. I’m fighting for him, what’s left of him.
Today is Father’s day. I love my dad so I’m going to be brave. I’m going to keep fighting for him even though it hurts.