I have been sharing my life on Facebook for over 4 years now. For 3.5 years I did a really good job of showing you all the high light real. I did a really good job of sharing with you all how I have created a life of success out of nothing. Granted, I did do that… my life has not always been unicorns and butterflies. I have shared some hard things with you all recently (Losing my son), but there is something else in my life that is equally as hard to talk about and to deal with and that is my Father. This weekend we drove 5.5 hours to visit my Father and my Grand Mother. Two weeks ago my Grand Father passed away. Every time i visit Vincennes Indiana my heart breaks. I actually spent 5 years avoiding that city so that a I didn’t have to face that hurt ever again. As I have grown more mature, I have realized I cannot run away anymore, I absolutely have to grow brave and face the reality.
When I was 6 years old my Father was diagnosed with a multitude of mental disorders. Schizophrenia, Depressive Delusional Disorder, and as a side affect Dementia. As a little girl I never quite understood what was going on with my Father. All I knew was Daddy slept a lot. I recall multiple visits to the VA clinic to see my Father hunched over and miserable. As the years progressed my Father was able to cope with his disorders and be there for me, but there came a time when he could no longer cope. He refused to take his medication because he believed he did not need them anymore. That is when things really took a turn for the worst. I was 11 years old when I first saw my Father come completely un done. I watched him sleep for weeks, I watched him stop taking care of himself, he stopped showering, he wet and pooped the bed. He started to write on the walls, and create frightening conspiracies. He stopped washing his clothes, he started to talk to himself, and he stopped being in touch with reality. He gained massive amounts of weight, stopped smiling, and cried often. For a little girl to watch all of this was traumatic.
This tore me apart. My Best Friend, My Dad, my Rock, my strength was taken from me in what seemed like over night. I was so scared and so heart broken. My parents were divorced when I was 8 years old and so I only saw my Father during the Summers. Every time I visited he just got worse and worse, and eventually I was no longer able to see my Father. We spoke on the phone here and there, but it got to be to painful. He began writing letters that made no sense, he began talking to me about things that just didn’t add up, and finally I made the decision to decrease how much I was interacting with my Father because he refused to be medicated. This was a tough decision that was made out of fear. I was terrified of him and I was also terrified that this could be my reality as well.
It has been a year since I went to visit my Father. Friday we made the journey to Vincennes. I was terrified. I knew that I would hurt seeing him, I knew that I would need to go through pain upon visiting him. I have dealt with Depression and anxiety off and on for about 7 years now and since losing Jack is has reared its ugly head. I was terrified to see my Father because I did not want my own Anxiety to increase. Watching my Father deteriorate over the years has been a major part of why I struggle with Depression and Anxiety and selfishly I wanted to protect myself from getting worse.
Has my Father’s condition improved? No, in fact it has only gotten worse. He weights 400 LBS, can barely walk, has black feet and legs, he can barely breath due to smoking two packs a day, and has heart disease. Every time I see him or talk to him it seems as though he is deteriorating. Is there a happy ending to this story? Yes… it may not seem like it but check this out…
My father has Faith. He believes in Jesus and loves Jesus very much. Through all of my Fathers pain and suffering he was able to tell me this weekend that the only thing that has kept him alive has been the promises from Jesus. The only thing that has kept him alive is LOVE from God. I could not believe my ears. I have recently been through some seriously painful stuff, but nothing compared to my Father. I struggled so heavily with Faith because I just couldn’t understand why God would want me to struggle… but my Dad… he has Faith, Love and Peace from Jesus. How incredible is that? I am not proclaiming to be the strongest Christian, or have a ton of Faith… but I just found it so inspiring that my Father finds strength in a higher power. Even with all of the pain from heart disease, hypoglycemia, diabetes and dementia… he has found a way to look forward to every day. Because Jesus died on the cross and promised eternal life and salvation my Father pulls through each day. Because God sacrificed his only son to show us that we will eventually be without pain and suffering my Father has strength in the every day.
The other part of the Happy Ending, I finally got my Father to agree to transfer to a Nursing Home in Michigan so that we could be closer to him and help him through his care and just be there for him. I want so badly to make up for the lost years. The years where I was not strong enough to be a part of his life. My fear kept me away. I won’t let that happen again. I found strength this weekend to be with my Father, and I have to believe that strength came from God. I have to believe the prayers I did this weekend carried me through. I am 30 years old now. I am no longer that scared 18 year old who didn’t know what to do in the face of adversity and pain. I am a Woman who can do hard things. I came away from seeing my Dad without deep sadness and fear but rather I came away with hope. I have hope that we can make up for the lost time and finally have a relationship again, as much as his mental health will allow.