Regular followers of my blog have probably noticed that there have been no entries since my review of The Rocky Horror Picture Show just prior to Halloween. This dry spell hasn't due to lack of appropriate topics or lack of observations that I've made during that period, it is simply been lack of contemplation time that I use to mentally prepare these entries. I call such mental breaks allowing myself to pander to pondering. I really wish that was all that was going on, but it isn't. I find myself facing the same challenge that many of my generation are as we turn from being independent adults to being the person that our elder parents are turning to for support and assistance as they grow older.
Without going into too many specifics, out of respect for his privacy, many of the issues facing my father are just those of someone who has reached a certain age when the body has started to transition as a result of getting older. Having spent a good deal of time with him, over several visits in the past few months, I am mentally and emotionally torn as I see his frustration when he discovers that something he was able to do routinely until now, is suddenly a challenge of dexterity or strength. I know from my own experience that living inside yourself you see time progressing differently and for some reason, you allow yourself the luxury of overlooking your own aging process until faced with the realization that years have passed. So, such realizations and failings take a great toll as you try to grasp onto those things you see as vital to your own independence.
This is the same man who taught me so much in the early years of my life and was supportive of me as I transitioned into being an adult, so I share the guilt of expecting him to be the same as when I left home to pursue my own life. Capabilities and skills that he had then, have now faded away -- not possible anymore – – it is a brutal realization. My brother once told me that he felt that his son was deprived of knowing the man that we grew up with in some ways -- our shared memory is that of a man who had led an infantry company in Vietnam and spent 20 years serving this nation in uniform. I think that some of my father's frustration at his current situation is a result of that military career, one in which he was never allowed to show any weakness or need for assistance because he was there to lead.
What may be one of the most terrible gifts of this time is the realization that what you are seeing is where you were destined. In a way it is frightening and at the same time, it is this knowledge that provides some foresight to help prepare mentally for the road ahead. My grandfather on my father's side died in his 40s of a heart attack, so my father never had to go through what I am. I hope that somehow what I am learning now will be beneficial to me when I reach this point in my life -- when I am faced with these frustrations as the years catching up with me.
Things appear to be at least smoothed out -- or at least smoother -- for the moment which will enable me to once again provide a weekly viewpoint and mental wanderings as I go through my own life. While I may not allow myself the luxury of dwelling too much on memories of my father as I grew up, I will allow myself to remember that my father still has a lot of great lessons to pass on.