I Peeked Over the Parapet Into Domestic Violence Territory
I almost slugged my mother in a hospital basement, and for an instant it seemed perfectly normal.
A few weeks ago, in the run up to getting my mother into the same assisted living facility where my father is, I took her to the doctor for paperwork, blood work, and all the other hoops you have to jump through to get someone into an assisted living facility. It feels not unlike getting someone into CIA headquarters.
I took the day off work, drove across town, and loaded my mother into the car, after fighting with her about whether she had to go at all, finally bribing her with the promise of McDonald’s. This type of bribery was normal by now, because my adult parents had become children, failing to make any decisions about what should happen to them in old age, instead just drifting into severe decline. Maybe someone would show up to help them, maybe not — neither of them seemed to care. So loading my apathetic mother into the car, with the promise of fries, was just one of many tiny tasks I’ve handled over the last two years. It sounds like a minor annoyance, but when these tiny tasks are added up, they make me want to bang my head on the sidewalk until I’m bloodied and unconscious. No, until I’m dead.
Cause of death? The feeling that I am in a constant crouch position, ready to fight through endless phone calls to assisted living facilities, doctors, home health care workers, banks and credit cards; nasty legal letters to banks and credit cards when they fail to honor perfectly executed power of attorney documents; staring down the barrel of dwindling savings, popping benzos, wondering what we’re going to do when all the money runs out. It’s a slow death because this all started in June of 2020 when I discovered that my father’s Parkinson’s had gotten so bad he could barely walk. When I found him wheeling himself around the house in a desk chair, falling asleep mid-sentence, I asked my mother why she hadn’t made sure he went to the neurologist over the last two years. Because what is marriage for if not to remind your spouse to go to the doctor?
“He’s an adult” she said, unmoved by her husband’s increasing number of falls in the shower, or sudden inability to walk. She just simply felt…