A Visit with My Father.
Over the long weekend I took BB and we went to Tucson to visit my dad. As I’ve written here, my dad had a stroke about a decade and a half ago. He’s been in a wheelchair ever since. He’s in his mid 70s now and talks a lot about suicide. I would understand it. He can do very little except watch TV and talk on the phone. He lost his right side, and he was right handed. So everything is extremely difficult. He’s constantly frustrated. And he drinks far too much. If he decides it’s time to go, I think I’d accept it as his decision and not just an expression of depression.
But it was good to see him. He was in pretty good sorts this weekend. His pain was minimal and we got him out to dinner. He was able to make transitions from chair to car, and from chair to scooter. That’s critical. He got to meet BB for the first time. We watched a couple football games and argued about Donald Trump. (“Dad, the only recent historical leader that Trump sounds like is Hitler.” “That’s not true. Also Mussolini.” “Then why do you support him?” “He’s the only chance this country has.” “I don’t want that kind of chance. Oh look, Carolina scored AGAIN and it’s only the first half of the first quarter.”)
BB and I took a morning to go trail running, out in the Arizona scrub desert.
I’m told these Saguaro Cactuses are usually 75 years old the first time they branch. So this monster is probably 150-200. We saw some that had three and four branches, probably weighing in at 400 years. It’s kind of amazing. They’re the Redwoods of the desert.
It was a long way to go for a short visit, but it was good. BB spent a lot of time with my stepmom, who is a verified saint. I think that J needed that. I don’t think she gets enough female socialization. BB and I cooked for them and we had a pretty good time. My family is… challenging, compared to hers. But I’m glad we went. And she doesn’t seem horrified, which is really all I was hoping for.
I like to say, “If everyone else in a family is crazy, you didn’t meet the only sane one.” My family is pretty crazy. We’ve earned it. And I’m not the sane one. I’m as crazy as any of us. But I have done a lot of work on myself, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I’ve worked really really hard to cast off my old dysfunctions and move forward in life productively. I’ve been moderately successful. The rest of my family has made their own strides. We’re better than we were. We’re not as good as we might one day be.
But all of us have our own successes now. I’m proud of us. I’m proud of me. It’s been hard work. But I’m finally in a place where I feel like I’ve earned a lot of the good things in my life. And I’m going to keep at it. I love my dad. I hope he finds his own peace one way or another.