Friday, December 25, 2009

Freedom of Choice

I just spoke to my father to wish him a merry Christmas.

I do love my father after all.

But perhaps the following will explain why I chose not to spend the holiday with him.

D: Hi.
J: Good morning. Merry Christmas!
D: I don't know how merry it is but it's Christmas.
[15 minute dialogue exchanged about the various illnesses, marital problems, and schooling issues our relatives and friends have been dealing with since last we spoke]
J: Well, I need to call Frank and make a cake so I need to go. I hope you have a fabulous day.
D: I doubt it'll be fabulous but it'll be a day.
J: The day will be what you make it. You choose what kind of day you'll have. Attitude is everything.
D: I wouldn't go that far. Some days it's just about getting out of bed because you have to.
J: Being able to get out of bed is cause for celebration.
D: Not if the only reason you get out of bed is because you can't stand being in the bed either.
J: Alrighty then. I'll talk to you soon. Love you.
D: OK. Love you too.

That, minus the Christmas-y stuff, is the extent of pretty much every conversation I now have with my father. Do you see now why I choose to keep myself at a physical distance? At least this time he offered no criticism of me. But then, I don't tend to clue him into the details of my life. Thus, there is nothing to criticize except for perhaps the lack of information I provide him.

It just...I get irritated by his unwillingness to participate in life. He has a choice - we all do - to flail about in misery or find a buoy to float on while the waves break around us.

He has been waiting to die...just literally sitting around waiting to die...for the last decade at least.

He complains he's bored. I say boredom is merely a refusal to participate.

He complains he's sick and tired. I say eat well, exercise, lose some weight.

He complains he's lonely. I say go to the senior center and make some friends.

Or! Better yet! Give those who know and love you a reason to WANT to be around you! You know, because there is no reason to be a Negative Nellie (hee hee...I'm so funny but only family will get the joke) and there is little more unpleasant than spending time with one.

But no. It's the same thing day in and day out for him. So I exercise my choice to stay away. I'm sad about it. Because he will come to the end of his life and he'll have missed out on so much the rest of us are doing because we have to exclude him in order to save our own sanity.

I've been grieving the loss of my father for the last 10 years and he lives just down the street. How sad is that?

Choice, People. You've got it. Use it wisely.

1 comment:

zero hour said...

wow, you were talking to my mom!