on parenting parents, part 2
Mmm. A good cry to start the day. Your writing is so tangible. I love you, and am sending the tenderest of hugs your way.
I really relate to all this so deeply, Sam. Thank you for sharing and naming some things I haven't written down yet. I'm living in my childhood home with my mother and stepdad right now and navigating some of these same difficult and complex things. This bit in particular is exactly what I'm experiencing at the moment: "I don’t know how much energy to put into encouraging them to make different choices. I am trying to remember that my definition of home doesn’t have to line up with theirs, but seeing them in an environment that I know caused me so much pain–that seems like it still causes them pain–is hard. Watching them be in pain is hard." I haven't had much energy to write about all this or process it, so reading your words has been really helpful for me. Sending you love as you continue to navigate such a tender (and taxing) situation. I'm right there with ya.
Oooof, staying in my own lane and letting others navigate their own journeys....so challenging for me as well. Extra love to you.
I am a new reader and wanted to write a comment to share that I was deeply moved by your piece. When I got to the detail about your father sleeping on the couch and having a table of medication and knives, I realized (for somehow, it felt like, the first time - despite all my therapy and work) that I am not alone in being the daughter of a father like mine, and still having a deep sense of caring for him anyway. My father passed away in 2016, and my grief was so complicated because he had become this person I didn’t know anymore and was ashamed of in his last ten years of life - a person who didn’t care for his own health in an effective way, with amputations from his unmanaged diabetes, lying about going to the doctor, not able to be the person he used to be due to pain, willfulness, disorganization, gender roles and probably many other things I never even knew about that he never told me or I couldn’t hear even if he had.
My situation was not identical to yours, of course, it goes without saying. But this one detail was so similar, and your beautiful piece helped me think through what happened to me. Thank you, deeply, for writing this and for sharing it.
The whole time I read this, I thought about the vibrant coloured paint on your walls or in the bowls of soup, and the way the sun is always shining on your palm when you remind us to take our meds. This gave me so much joy for your future and so much pain for your past. I just know that with your determination, despite what choices others make, your will be filled with colour.