Facing the Inevitable
Very touching and deep with emotion. Bless you. And your Mom and your Dad. You will need peace and life will change you are strong Michael, your Mom will continue to need that strength. I’ve been married 60 years and I see it all approaching, licking my heels. Fortunately the children really are our support beams. Thank God for all the comfort of those support beams. Your Mother is very fortunate to have a caring son.prayers and Blessing.
“I wanted comfort. Sex. Love. Freedom. I wanted my father to be healthy. I wanted things to be how they had been before the lockdowns in 2020. Everything had been dumped upside down and shaken violently. Nothing made sense. Things were backwards, unintelligible. My father—a man I’d always loved but never understood—was a pillar of my life, of my assumed privilege. He’d always just been there. Solid. Stoic. Stubborn. Like some ancient Grecian statue. Permanent.”
And yet now that statue was showing cracks.
This entire bit could be me writing about what it’s been like for me these last.. nearly three years now.
My condolences to you and your father and to all your friends and family.
Michael, this is super touching, and hits me right in my heart. I, too, have endured pure hell these past 5 years.
Five years ago, my wife and I had to leave our home in southwest Florida. We moved in with our youngest daughter and her family in Georgia. I lost my home due to my becoming disabled in 1995, I simply ran out of money. I guess you can only bond on to stuff like that so long living on a small state pension and social security.
Anyway, after moving in with our daughter, we had agreed to pay half the household bills. Thus ticked on for about a year. Now, I’m totally disabled, and pretty much bed bound. My wife had bern caring for me since 1995, when I was forced to retire medically from my law enforcement career in Florida. Living Kia in Georgia, paying half of the household bills, it pretty much took all my retirement check as well as my social security.
Two years after we moved in with them, my daughter and her husband separated, and divorced. This is when things changed. I began noticing that more snd more money was having to be spent on the monthly bills. I was having to pay all the rent, then all the electric and water bills. I had to take them over because without electricity, my breathing machines do me no good. When the power was turned off, I learned it was three months due, which was over $900 to get it turned back on. Then that same day, the water was turned off. It, too, was three months past due, which was over $400 to get it back on. This drained my bank accounts totally. I was ‘ticked’ off to say the least.
November , 2021,my wife was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 cancer. She had two masses in her chest area. One was in her upper right lung while the other had broken through her chest cavity into her body cavity and her other organs. She has smoked her entire adult life, and although I put the cancer sticks down in 1995 after a doctor explained to me he would have to amputate my legs if I didn’t quit smoking because they would never heal, she refused to quit smoking.
All of my attention, money, everything concentrated on her treatments and care. We lost her in March, 2022. We did everything we possibly could to make her life comfortable because the doctors told us there wasn’t much that could be done due to her waiting so long to get to the doctor and get diagnosed. She was a woman that refused to go to a doctor for anything. It was “I’ll take a couple Tylenol and I’ll be fine” routines. Well, Tylenol didn’t help this. She went into the bathroom one day, threw up and collapsed. My daughter rushed in and saw all the blood they had thrown up, and called an ambulance. This is when the cancer was found.
Right after she was diagnosed my daughters told me they were taking mother to Biloxi, MS for a trip before she gets to sick to go anywhere. I had $500 left so I gave it to her to blow on the machines or whatever she decided to do with it. Little did I know there was ulterior motive to this trip. My daughters had their mother lay out her final plans, who was to get what, everything. After she passed the children all same ti the house here in Georgia over several months getting everything.
Las November my daughter told me she was getting married this coming August and was moving back to Florida, so she wasn’t renewing the lease. Now, I had been giving her the rent money to pay each month because she paid it through the realtor’s portal, which I had no access to. I told her after I learned she wasn’t renewing the lease that I was cutting my giving her the full rent to half, so I could set money back to find me a place to move.
I’d been paying all the rent, electric, water, yard maintenance, buying all the groceries, plus keeping gas in my truck gif her to drive to work snd everywhere she needed to go. Also, included in that was keeping it maintained. All of this on my income of just over $2,100 a month, total.
I had a realtor in Atlanta helping me in getting an apartment. I wanted to live there because my doctors wanted to send me to Emory University Hospital for surgeries and treatments I needed. I found an apartment not far from Emory and the realtor set it up fir me to get it and move in. I sent him the money her requested, which was just over $3,000. When it came down to about time for me to move, I hadn’t received a copy of the lease, or the keys, to my apartment. I tried to contact the realtor and I couldn’t get hold of him. So, I contacted the apartment complex that he was ‘associated with’. I learned there was no such person, no apartment had bern leased for me, and, they had no apartment available that was ADA set up, so I could get into it with my wheelchair. Then I contacted the Realty Board and learned that this person wasn’t a realtor. I was screwed, scammed, and really ‘ticked’ off!
My daughter insisted I move back to Florida with her. I flatly refused. I wasn’t going back to the DeStupid state of communism. Plus I wasn’t going with her so she would continue having me pay all her bills, giving her total use of my truck, and her taking every last cent I had for whatever reason. She got mad, packed up and left. Thus is now March this year. The day after she left, the landlady got in touch with me. She explained to me that rent hadn’t been paid since last December. Rent was due gif January, February, and March. She also told me that she had came to the house several tones over the last few months to talk to me and my daughter had told them i was extremely ill, or I was sleeping, or in the hospital, or at the doctors office. She always had an excuse to keep them from talking to me. I also learned that I had a week to find a place to live because the owners of the house decided that they wanted to sell it instead of rent it any longer. So I had to move.
I tried everything I could to find a place. I couldn’t. I had no money, nothing. I had no way to get my stuff packed up, and no help with anything. The following Friday I left the house and went to a local bridge I had checked out. It was fairly nice, and had other homeless folks there, and the nearby woods. So that’s where I went with the few clothes I could get in a pillowcase. I left my oxygen machines, breathing machines, medications, hospital bed, everything behind. The landlady called me and ask what I was going to do with the things. “You need them”, she said. I explained to her that yes, I did, but I was unable to move them and had no help with packing up or anything. My daughter had taken all the furniture. My other daughter had taken everything of their mother’s. I had nothing but the stuff in my bedroom. Everything else from my 40 year marriage to their mother was gone. Everything we had together, that we moved from Florida, was gone.
I explained to the landlady that I greatly appreciated her helping me, allowing me to stay in the house as long as they did, nit I had no answers. I have no idea what, or how, she did it, but she got in touch with our youngest son, who was the only one of our 4 children that was still talking to me. He contacted me after about two or three weeks, and ask me where I was. He was in Leesburg looking for me. I told him where I was.
He, and his wife, had come up to find me a place to live. They picked me up at the bridge and took me to a motel in Albany . While I stayed in the room for the two days they had gotten it for, they made sure I had food to eat, my clothes cleaned, had a nurse come in and get my legs rewrapped and checked me over. Got in touch with my doctor and explained to her what I had been through, so she had the nurse come to me and to the examination, get me cheated up, everything.
I’m the meantime, my sin and daughter-in-law rested a truck, went to the house where I was living and loaded all my stuff I needed. They found me an apartment and got it rented, paying the first months rent, and fee.
So, Michael, I fully understand what you have been through. I too, have been through hell this past year and a half. I’m still dealing with depression, and everything. If it wasn’t for the lady across the walkway from my apartment, and all of you folks here on Substack, I have no idea what I’d be doing. I really believe I’d have lost my mind completely. This loneliness is tough to deal with, especially disabled, and 71.
First time here
First time reading your lovely prose poetry
First time hearing the tender responses
of your dear flock who love you
I am blessed by your words
I am deeply moved seeing you
being the son
every father and mother would hope for
when the agony and grief arrive
Thank you for your courage
In living up to your calling
both as a son and as a writer
Recently I lost my Mother to cancer, and it really changed me, because on some sense I lost my best friend.
I particularly relate to this passage, Michael. 'My dad is tired, I can see that. Not just physically but spiritually. The fight isn’t exactly gone yet…but it’s not strong. The little blue flame is still there but barely.' When my father went through a similar experience at 99, I wrote "I ask him how he is today. His face sags, he looks me in the eye, and says ‘I’m buggered, son’. He wants me to know that he’s had enough and just wants to be left alone to leave this world on his own terms."
What a fabulous son you are. Much love to your family.
Beautiful piece, Michael. Thank you for sharing.
So sad to hear about your dad and the emotional struggles that you all are going through. Death is inevitable for all of us but I don't think that we are ever really ready to lose someone we love. My prayers to you all and your writing on this is beautiful.
I must say that this article struck a deep chord as a close family member recently passed away. Keep up your great writing!
It just flows out of you, Michael. Really incredible. I broke at the paragraph you talked about crying with your mom and talking about your dad. As you know, I've always related so much to your descriptions of your dad and your relationship with him.
Same with my dad and me regarding this quote: "I have his appreciation of solitude, his non-need for a ton of friends or a lot of people around me. People have always drained me, though I do have a small, close circle of intimate friends I can call at 3am anytime."
You also remind me to not take my father's presence and influence for granted while he is still here with my family: "For a long time I think I took my father’s existence and unconditional love for granted. He was simply always there, like water or mountains or the sea. Permanent. Solid as rock. He’s always been a thing I can agree or disagree with, bounce against or push back from. A tether from which the wild anarchy that is my nature can swing." - great imagery
So good. Thank you for allowing us to be on this journey with you. You are a shepherd to your own heart and to us who have experienced or have yet to experience something like this. Thank you. <3
This piece was one of the best works I've read in a long time. It's not just your authenticity, but the wisdom pulsing between the vulnerability and horror and deep profound love of it all.
Having said that, I am so sorry and I send you, your dad, and mom light and love.
Beautiful ant brave journey! Courage to you.
Today is the 5th anniversary of my father's death, Thank you ... your essay so beautifully written and expressed ...