26
Mar

My face is wet.

There are only two things I do well with my eyes closed: play guitar and type. I can't reach my guitar. Sorry.

There is a thing that men, Dads in particular, do.  It's really stupid and self-destructive.  It's a tough lesson and you have to learn it the hard way.  We can't fix everything. There I said it. We can't fix everything.

The reason they call the hard times in your life “the hard times in your life” is because they aren't easy …and that's OK. It is OK to not get everything done; it is OK to forget a detail in the midst of a crisis. It is not OK to put your feelings on hold and just press on like you don't feel it. It messes with your head. It screws up your body as it screams for you to rest. You aren't helping if you make yourself sick, angry, frustrated or impotent.

However, this isn't what we do. What we do is push harder, putting on "the face," ignoring pain and exhaustion and pressing on, trying to fix things we can't fix with tools that are dull from lack of sleep.

If, in conjunction with your emotional impotence, you happen to have health issues, this is a recipe for disaster in your relationships as your frustration mounts and you begin to feel helpless about things that you cannot control.

 It is with humble heart I recognize that I am a mere mortal man and, try as I might to move mountains to make my family happy and healthy, some mountains don't want to move. Some are insurmountable and some I am, frankly, too afraid to climb. I don't want to know what's at the top.

Recently my sweet Mother passed and, as is often the case, it happened just as my Wife was diagnosed with cancer and sever emphysema and nearly died from a blocked artery they called a widowmaker, followed by months of meds and surgery.  Then recovery.

Due to my ridiculous disease, I am allergic to hospitals and doctor's offices.  I don't know what it is. I have a feeling it is the industrial cleaners they use on the floors as I am also allergic to WalMarts and Targets. It seems a bit worse in medical facilities, probably because they are, of course, a little obsessive about cleanliness.

Add to that a bit of PTSD from a bad experience in my youth and I am a basket case inside followed by migraines and loopyness for hours after a visit to a medical facility.

When your wife is in there, though, you set all that aside and you walk right in and face it. You put on a smile and you "stay strong for her." Well stupid, you can't hide from her and you cause her more pain because she feels yours too.  My kids are awesome and they stepped up and helped and visited and held our hands and eased our minds and I couldn't be more proud.

 It is really difficult, sometimes, to appear weak in their eyes. I'm the Dad. I have all the answers and can protect us from all dangers except, apparently, the ones I create. I'm neither the best Dad nor the worst, but it is when I feel inadequate that it hurts the most.


My children's grandmother died and I had to say to my wife, "please call them; I can't be a Dad right now. I need to be a son." 

That was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to vocalize.  My partner stepped up and made the calls and comforted me and tried to assuage my guilt as I cried for so many reasons.  That's right, I cried. That's OK too. Right in front of them because they love you and it doesn't matter if you think you're the big strong DAD. You are their dad and they love you enough to feel it too. They, of course, understood and wanted only to ease my mind.

Friends of mine recently had a horribly agonizing year as their sweet little girl was reconstructed with a nice straight spine. She was a superstar, blogging about it and sharing her struggle. All I could see through it all was her Dad, trying to hold it all together when he just wanted his mommy to make it all go away. I can't imagine what they went through. I can imagine what he did to himself as his world came crashing down around him. He's a man, he's a Dad, what did you think he was gonna do? They struggled, they cried, she got better and things got back to normal, except for Dad. He's changed forever. He learned as I did that we can't fix everything, no matter how much we need to. He's young, he'll be glad he learned that then, life ain’t done with him.  You should see them, what a wonderful family. Pressing on.

So here I am, sitting in the dark, eyes closed, ready to vomit from the pain and hoping I'm typing from the home keys not one to the left or something. Alternately crying and typing and laughing with Wakitu when she comes in to try to make me eat something and drink fluids that don't come in a corked bottle.
 It is most difficult to keep your mind busy when you are blind from a migraine. Light hurts, sound hurts, movement hurts… So you think. Thinking too much when you are in pain is not a good idea. Out comes the pain drawer. You know, that bottom drawer where you hide all your pain and inadequacies. You see yourself as real, mortal, with foibles and faults as they come out of the drawer. Facing these things can lead to deep depression; that's why we keep them in the drawer.

I'm dumping my drawer out on the bed today and getting it sorted.  I can't fix everything and it is high time I stop trying. I know it will happen again, I know i will try, I can't help it. I'm the Dad. I am going to try and be real about my abilities and take my aging body down a better path of healthy thinking.

I should go get a guitar. Often when I am at my worst, I write my best songs. Sigh...
@wakitu told me at some point I sat bolt upright after falling asleep, I touched my face and in my loopy state said, incredibly, incredulously "My face is wet!" "You've been weeping," she said and she held me close. She said I then lay down and slept like a stone...

 

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