Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Losing Your Authority

While my thirties and early forties were all about creating a family, I always had the distinct feeling those happy moments would be replaced by less happy ones further on. I was anticipating my fifties would surely be marked by the loss of my parents. It happened before, sadly.

Dad passed away 2 years ago, weeks after the transplants ordeal was over. I felt I had been hit by an eighteen wheeler, miraculously surviving, to finally be able to get up and stand on my feet to be hit a second time around, in complete dizzyness. Some days, it still feels like I am trying to pick myself up.

Dad and I sure have our history of disagreements and tumult. You can't undo the past, I found it the hard way. You can't unsay what you've said, you can't unhear what was said to you. However, I can always find comfort in the fact that the apple did not fall far from the tree. Two very opinionated people, one standing on the right, one standing on the left, you can only expect clashing to happen. As dementia took a hold of him, it became boring as him and I would not even argue over politics anymore. He just lost interest in everything.  Dementia stole my dad away from me. But it never took away his love for me. As he became more and more affected by the illness, I saw this vulnerable man replace the man I used to fear. The man whose phone calls at supper time (to dictate me how to raise his grandchildren he loved so much...!) I would avoid with exasperation as I was busy with so much happening. I met a new person in his last years of life. I met a man who would develop unconditional love for his adopted grandchildren. It was never a concern with my biological children. But dad took me by surprise, letting his guards and prejudice down to see the beauty of children in need.

I miss his phone calls. I miss hearing him telling me how proud he was of me, how I reminded him of his own mother. I used to dismiss him and roll my eyes in silence. All that is left are the memories now. Our last phone call was two days before his passing. Binh was still in hospital receiving blood transfusions, while he was as well receiving transfusions 9 hours away. I told him she was fine, and I know he understood. I assured him I would always be there for his grandkids, and I know it comforted him. I told him I loved him, and he returned the same to me. And I knew this was our last conversation.

My mother survived him and is now by herself, fighting the demons of dementia as well. I feel horrible living far away. I feel guilty not being there more for her. I feel caught between my duty as a mom and my duty as a daughter. We talk every single day. The conversation always goes the same way. But somehow, it seems new to her. I keep things simple. Because it is the way it has to be. I have no immediate family anymore. No one who saw me growing up I can talk to about the real things. About my worries. About my accomplishments. About childhood memories, good and not so good.

I have no one to fear anymore. I lost all my figures of authority.

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