Reality Bites

March 4, 2020

I’ve been pretty quiet lately. I spend almost no time on social media anymore, and even less time on the various writing projects I’ve got sitting in the fire, of which there are four.

I suppose the reason I write weird fiction is because reality is tough and doesn’t really  give a toss.

So, this all goes back around ten years or so. We all began to notice that Dad wasn’t quite right. He put his beloved, well-used golf clubs in the shed and began sitting in the dark. He was even more irritable than normal. He was neglecting his household chores–something he was always quite anal about. He’d have a thought and open his mouth to say something, and then the thought would drop out of his head and be gone as quickly as it came.

And then mom got sick, low blood sugar, and was hospitalized. That’s when things truly hit home. Mom sent dad to the house to get his insulin so he’d have it there when he needed it, along with a change of clothes. Home is about five miles from the hospital, with only one turn the entire way. What should have taken twenty minutes at most ended up taking five hours.

Dad had vanished.

We were all pacing about mom’s hospital room when the call from the police came in. Dad had been in an accident south of Lima, Ohio. His truck was totaled–fortunately, nobody had been hurt, except for a cistern and a church sign.

Lima, Ohio is about a hundred miles from their house. Dad had gotten lost, and just kept driving in the dark until he wrecked his truck in somebody’s backyard. The next day, I went to Lima to pick dad up from the emergency room. I remember seeing the long line of little rooms all lit up in a long curve of sterile lighting, except for one room plunked in the middle, which was dark and lonely like an island of gloom. That’s where my Dad was. He was sitting there in the dark, deactivated, like R2D2. He was fine except for a few cuts on his face. When I asked him if he knew where he was, he had no idea.

Dementia had come over him fast and hard. As I drove him back home, he peed on my seats.

And then, a few months later, my older sister died. It was a blood clot.

Sudden Death. She basically dropped dead. I think it was for the best. I think she was on the verge of a long slow decline in health. I wouldn’t have wanted to see that.

Cori1As we readied to go to my sister’s funeral, Dad sat there on the bed holding his tie. He said he didn’t know how to put in on, so I did for him what he once did for me when I was a kid. I put my arms around his neck and did his tie for him, situating it under his collar. At that moment, it was like all his power and authority passed from him into me, and I didn’t want it, truly I didn’t. Suddenly I had to be the authority, the man of the house. I had to be the strong one, to manage my mother’s wracking grief, as well as my own. I had to make the decisions.

I had to lead the family.

So, that’s where I’ve been lately, learning to live without my father and my sister. Things are ok. Sometimes Dad comes downstairs without his pants. Some times he’ll eat weird things (like a handful of 22 caliber bullets the other day), and everywhere he goes he leaves a trail of flooded toilets in his wake. We just laugh and try to get on as well as we can. The worst thing is when he asks if my sisters is dead–that’s the hardest thing. It’s always hard.

But, time does in fact march on. Things are getting better. Mom fully recovered and is doing well. I’ve actually started writing again. It’s crap–it’s all crap, but it’s a start. It’ll get better.

It always does.

It always does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: