After completing my fifth twelve-hour shift in a row (as an in-home caregiver), I drive through rumbling booms of fireworks to get home. I walk in the door, greeted by my meowing cats, and fill out intake paperwork for my doctors appointment in the morning (hopefully to figure out why I feel like a pile of walking shit all the time). I go upstairs to my mother’s domain (I moved in last year to care for my father with dementia before he passed away December 1st) to get a burrito to take with me for lunch tomorrow. As I ask her where she put them, I get yelled at for no logical reason, as usual. “Why are you so angry?” I ask. “I’m sick! Like you give a shit anyway!” Okay, wait. “Mom, I just got home a couple minutes ago and you know I care; why are you mad?” She replies telling me to just go downstairs and try to get some sleep through all the noise outside (she knows I can sleep through nearly anything). If you don’t know me, then you have no idea the amount of shits I give about my mother. If you do know me, you know that I would do anything in the world for my parents (God knows, and everyone else, that I did for my precious father before he left us). If you know my mother, you may ask yourself why in the world I try and make the most miserable woman on the planet happy; I ask myself the same question. I cancel plans with friends (most importantly my amazing other half) because she likes to dominate my time. Note that I always work 50 hours a week, often more. I still live here because she’s codependent and I’m not sure she would be okay living alone. I refuse to move or go to school somewhere out of town because I refuse to leave her. I refuse to live my life the way I’d like because I try to appease her, because I can’t stand the thoughts of upsetting her. So like I give a shit, right? I bring her flowers to brighten her day, and I always fix the flowers in a vase. Why? Because if I don’t, she gripes that I shouldn’t buy her flowers that she has to fix. Apparently cutting fresh cut flowers that are given to you is a burden. Who knew. But no, I don’t give a shit. I took care of her when she’s had surgery. I cooked, cleaned, ran errands, everything, all while also taking care of my bed-ridden father. I spend my days taking care of sick and elderly people. I spend my days cleaning out potty chairs or changing dirty adult diapers. I clean, cook, and do laundry for people who can no longer do it anymore. I listen to adults, with fear in their eyes, as they talk about their next round of cancer treatment. I have the same conversation over and over again with people who have dementia. I clean wounds, wipe bottoms, wash hair, and dress people for a living. I’m in school pursuing a degree in social work, focusing on geriatric and memory care. But no, I don’t give a shit about how people feel. I want to spend the rest of my life making people feel safe, loved, warm, clean, healthy, and worthy all because I don’t give a shit. I go to bed often crying myself to sleep because of how devalued my mother makes me feel. I go to bed feeling like I’m a terrible person, even though I know I’m not. I go to bed wondering if she realizes that no matter how she treats me, I’ll always take care of her. So, no, mom.. I don’t give a shit. You’re right. I give a lot of shits about you and I always will.
I latch onto things. I cling to people. I hold people too close to my heart without their permission. I care too much, and I feel too deeply. After all of the pain I have endured, you think I’d be able to detach, but that isn’t the case. There has never been a point in my life that I haven’t latched onto another human being. There has never been a time where I go to sleep without someone on my mind. There is never a time when I look at my phone without hoping I have a message from a certain someone.
I’m a hopeless romantic, as much as it pains me to admit that. When I’m sad, I dream of my prince charming showing up at my door to comfort me. When I hear a car, I hope it’s him surprising me just because he wanted to see me. I wish for flowers just because. I anxiously await a sweet good morning text message. Each person I meet, I dream of these things that I know I’ll never get.
While I’m falling asleep thinking of you, I’m not on your mind at all. While I’m dreaming of sleeping beside you, you’re probably sleeping beside someone else. When I wake up and text you that I hope you have a wonderful day, you’ve probably just sent that same text to another. I think of you throughout the day and hope you’re well, meanwhile, I’m still not anywhere on your mind. As I’m writing this, alone and rather sad, you’re happy. You’re happy without me or anyone else, and I’m angry. I’m angry because I’m not only bad at being alone, I just don’t know how.
My father passed away on December 1, 2015 at 1:38pm only a moment after I had read “My sweet father,” aloud; my mother was holding his left hand, and I was holding his right. He went peacefully with the two people who meant the most to him, his “girls.”
Over a week later.. This still isn’t real. I built a very strong emotional wall while caring for my father the last month and a half of his life; I had to focus 100% on his needs and had no time or energy to deal with my emotions on the matter. That wall is refusing to come down. Saying “your father is dead” is no different than saying “the sky is purple;” it isn’t real. I don’t believe you. My dad can’t be dead, because I’m only 24. I need him. He has to give the guy of my dreams permission to ask my hand in marriage. He has to walk me down the isle. He has to see me graduate from college. He has to see me be successful. He has to remind me to rotate my tires and change fluids that I don’t even know exist. He has to meet his future grandchild. He has to tell me that he loves me and that he’s proud of me. He has to fuss at me for being stubborn. He has to tell me not to get anymore tattoos. He has too much left to do.. He can’t be gone.
I need you, daddy.