With Dignityon Jan 17 in Blog Post by johnhornor
This weekend my father, at 72, had an accident. He’d been sick, some sort of upper respiratory infection with terrible – and I mean absolutely ghastly – coughing. So, he was heading back to the guest room in his house to take a nap (which he does for about 4 to 6 hours a day – yes, my father sleeps as much as a big cat, which is kind of a warning sign) and he starts coughing. He can’t catch his breath because of the coughs and ultimately, he blacks out, pitches forward nearly breaks his nose. He wakes up and my mom is rolling him over onto his back and trying to staunch the gouts of blood flowing from his nose.
Monday nights are dinner-at-the-parents night. I take Rojo and The Grunch over there, we order pizza or cook burgers or do taco salad. Sometimes my wife comes. Sometimes not.
Last night, it was taco salad and my dad presided over the table with two black eyes and a nose skinned raw and oozing. He looked like shit and was in general miserable. He disappeared after dinner and when I looked for him, found him in the living room sitting alone in, if not the dark, a very low lighting situation.
I tried to laugh off his injuries with the normal jokes – “I bet the other guy looks worse!” – but he wasn’t having it. Just as dour and depressed as I’ve ever seen him. Ever since he retired at 66, he’s been destitute. And these last three years have been hard on him; he’s had a heart attack, he lost the lease to his duck club of 40 years, and he sold his interest in his cabin, aka Whiskey Tree, due to legal conflict with one of the other members. Grappling with the natural deterioration of his body has been hard and these other blows have really sapped him.
So, with black eyes, nose oozing red, he sat in the dark and said to me, “I’m just tired of living.”
“Don’t say stupid shit like that,” I said. I’m not fluffing the conversation here – at this stage in my life, I can call my dad out on histrionics. He’d do the same to me. Or, at least he used to.
He quickly backtracked, told me that he’s just exhausted from his sickness and now with the injury, doubly so. I let it pass. But damn if I’m not gonna be on his ass. In fact, my sister and I have planned a little project for him. Hopefully we’ll lure him out of his depression.
Then last weekend, I came across this video. And it makes me furious at my father for being so lackluster and depressed when there’s folks out there fighting real battles and trying to give their final days meaning and dignity. I’ve always loved Terry Pratchett’s books, but now I’m quite taken with the man.
Will let you all know what develops.