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Keri's Thoughts

Life Just Keeps Chasing Me

Just random thoughts and ideas

Life Just Keeps Chasing Me

Postby Keri Tom » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:02 pm

Life’s Lessons Just Keep Chasing Me So I’d Better Actually Learn Something

Do I have a father?

Biologically speaking, yes, I have a father. But a recent incident caused me to re-evaluate my perspective on my relationship with him, and in so doing, relieved a huge burden off my soul. Sounds heavy, yes?

My brother Paul will be 40 next month, and he is a high-functioning autistic. When we were children, he lived in various institutions for the majority of his life – autism was not diagnosed then, and we heard various diagnoses throughout his childhood: his chi is off balance, he’s seeing demons, he’s schizophrenic, he’s bi-polar, etc. He only lived in our house for about a month or so per year, broken up into week-long chunks. We are not close. He lives with my retired father and has done so for the last 20 years. This is not the most ideal situation but there is no other place or him to go; he would still live with my mom if she were still alive. It is not an option for him to live with me and my family.

It is rare that my father involves me in anything having to do with my brother, but in this instance, thankfully he did. Earlier this week, my father called me and told me Paul had been hospitalized – his legs had collapsed and he was feeling weak and dizzy. Four days, many tests and 2 units of blood later, the problem was discovered to be gastric ulcers, which were inadvertently made worse by the administration of aspirin – a blood thinner which worsened Paul’s internal bleeding. My father asked me for rides to the hospital; his car is on its last legs and isn’t stable enough to be driven at night (or daytime, for that matter!)

On the day of the most extensive testing, I was unable to visit Paul. I called several times throughout the day to check on his progress but was not able to reach any of the nurses. When I finally spoke to my dad later that day, he didn’t know the results of the tests or what the doctors had actually done, even though I was there when he signed the consent forms. The medical staff had informed Paul about what was going on, but Paul didn’t understand a large amount of what was explained to him; my thought is that the current nurse on duty did not realize my brother is autistic and hadn’t given my father any details. My father was much more nonchalant about this than I was; I told him that if it were MY child, I would be a bit more aggressive in finding out how he was doing after his procedures, finding out what was wrong and what was going to happen next. Rude? Out of line? Control issues on my part? Possibly; but that’s essay for anther day. My father anxiously cut me off before I could finish my sentence with the phone numbers for the nurses’ station and asked me to call, find out what’s going on, and report back to him.

The procedures went well. The following day my husband and I went to visit Paul. When we got there, he was gone – he had been discharged earlier that afternoon. My father had not called to tell me.

What upset me about this whole thing was not so much that my father had behaved in an underhanded way, but my visceral anger that immediately bubbled up when I found out. From my father I have mostly learned what NOT to do life, and to this point I really believed I had hashed through all my emotional bullshit and forgiven him for a lifetime of childish behavior. So I was confused – why was I so angry? I am wholly accustomed to his behavior and I know when it’s coming, how to handle it and how to let it fly away when it rears its ugly head. I was very upset that I had let this affect me in this way.

It seems that every few years or so, some event will happen in my life that causes me to rethink everything. Call it emotional growth, epiphanies, catharsis or any combination of them all, I am glad that at the very least I am able to remain cognizant that these opportunities will present themselves. I feel that on a karmic level, this was yet another lesson for me – I feel now that while yes, I truly have forgiven my father for his past behavior, there were lingering vestiges of ill-feeling that I didn’t realize I even had. So now my job is to let it be, not worry or ponder, but to let things flow through and around. Let’s hear it for moving forward! :D
Fin2swim - Infant Aquatics Master Instructor Trainer "Life is Beautiful"
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Keri Tom
 
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