Monday, 31 May 2010

My father was up very early

this morning. He looked as if he had not slept. He had slept very little. He was worried.
My brother was due back from Canada and the USA at 7:20pm last night. He had not 'phoned and my father was worried. Right.
I do a little arithmetic. Then I explain that (1) there have been no reports of any planes crashing or going missing, (2) the plane my brother and his wife were on was almost certainly delayed because there was wild weather on the eastern coast, (3) when the plane lands there are passport control, luggage, customs etc to get through, (4) they then need to get to their home on the other side of the city. All this means that it was probably well after midnight before they got there. They would not 'phone at that hour, indeed they would not 'phone after nine in the evening because they would think that would worry my father. They will, I explain carefully, 'phone as soon as they can. I am certain of this.
From looking frantically worried my father has gone to usual routine of reading the paper, muesli and toast. He is still anxious but the anxiety levels have decreased. He is a hopeless worrier.
I am certain he has no idea just how much this affects my life. Other people say, "Just do what you want to do anyway. Let him worry."
I cannot do that. He becomes physically ill with worry. It is getting worse as he gets older. He has talked to his doctor about it. I have talked to his doctor about it. Allowing him to worry is not a kindness. It is not going to cure him of worrying. That would have happened long ago. He 'phoned me yesterday because he was late leaving church. He was worried about me worrying.
I do worry. I worry about him worrying - and with good cause. It could easily make him take risks or not pay full attention on his way home. He is, after all, 87 and I love him. He is now my responsibility the way I was once his.
So, there are things I will not do and things that must wait.


Vanessa Gebbie said...

I'm sending you a hug - I had/have the same problem with my father . he is 94, and now is losing his memory, and has bouts of real confusion - forgets where he is and so on.

I know it affects me, really badly, and always has. My family used to tell me he was being manipulative... and that my pandering to it just allowed him to carry on - but it's not as simple as that, is it?

I'm sorry you're going through this. But its all important, I think...have another hug. Vx

catdownunder said...

Thanks Vanessa. You are is not as simple as that. Family issues rarely are.
I think I am extremely lucky really. My father is, apart from the tendency to worry, easy to care for - and still mentally agile. He might easily not be.
Your father is the same age as a friend of mine - also getting very frail. We hugged yesterday. A hug in return to you too!