Monday, 29 October 2012

getting old is a horrible thing

My thoughts today are consumed by aging. Not the vain ‘I don’t want to look old’ thing, the ‘I don’t want to get old and incapable and lonely and become a burden on my kids’ thing... My Dad was 45 when I was born (I was the ‘mistake’). Now he’s 86 and an old frail man. I have always felt ripped off, having older parents. Growing up, I used to be embarrassed when other kids thought my dad was my Granddad. But then I realised how lucky I was. My dad would do anything for me and he had the time and desire to indulge me. I totally took him foregranted. Now he's old and I resent him.  I resent him for getting old and not being 'my real Dad' any more.  I resent him for not being the man he was... eager to please, able to do anything, fearless, solid, reliable, always there, practical. I resent that my kids will never know the gymnast that he was, and instead see a man who can barely shuffle. I really don't want to get old...

Once again, I'll admit that living so far away from my family has hardened my heart. I have my own family to think about, I don’t ‘need’ my parents any more. I gave grown up and away physically and emotionally. When I think about it and it saddens me. When I don’t think about it, I forget, I just get on with my life. This role reversal with happen to me, with my kids one day too. I’m dreading it. All the sacrifices and worry and dreams that my parents made for me and I make for my kids... all for what? What a crap daughter I have become. 

Yes, I'm rambling today. My minds is spinning, this way and that.  Basically it's because I’m feeling guilty. Actually, a mixture of relief and guilt. My sister and I had to tell our poor old Dad that that we’re cancelling his ticket to fly over here (from the UK) for my niece's wedding next month. It’s really sad. But he’s just not up to the trip. We had to make a hard decision. He can barely walk, is still recovering from cracked ribs (due to several falls), is in denial that he is semi-incontinent, and he’s alone (my mum left him 2 years ago and has since regressed to a 17 year old in search of a new 'able' love...). There is no way he can handle the 24-hour trip alone and then back again.  So we had to tell him on the phone last night and it broke his heart.  He doesn't understand.  He doesn't see what we see. So I feel like a hard bitch, because I spoke to him like I would to a child.  Patiently explaining why he can't come on the trip he's been living for, why he won't spend Christmas with his family and as a result he won't see his favourite grand daughter marry. "Why?" dad asks, "Because you're too old Dad".  And selfishly I breathe a sigh of relief because now everyone in the wedding party is able bodied and we can rush around and have fun and not have to worry about Dad slowing us down, always needing to be close to a toilet, wheeling the wheelchair, stopping us doing all the things we want to do... Meanwhile Dad will sit, alone in his flat, with nothing to look forward to...

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