Friday, June 09, 2006

test to destruction

Not a fun one. Might want to skip it.
My father in law is in the hospital again.
The god I was taught about in catholic school is exactly the type of hateful bastard who would torment a helpless old man like this. Therefore, in this instance, and in this context, I believe in that god. He's proven himself.

What point is there in this? My father in law never gets a fucking break. It's always something, and just as he's recovering from one blow he gets knocked back another couple of steps further. It's sadistic. He's dying by inches...only to be given a little glimmer of hope,only to have that dashed. Over and over again.
I wish he would die. I do not say that out of hate; I say that out of love.
The idiots, criminals and cowards who made up the bulk of the adults I was acquainted with as a child always used to say 'well, now, you know, god never gives us anything that we can't handle'.
I see. that explains it.
Yes, that god has certainly proven himself.

In the real world, there is nothing I can do.
Age does not scare me. Illness and helplessness do. The combination of the three is just about more than I can tolerate.

My grandmother suffered a great deal of abuse and neglect in her final years. She injured herself falling down a flight of stairs and was dumped into a rest home that made the front pages of the local newspaper as being one of the FIVE WORST FACILITIES IN THE STATE OF OREGON. It was not lack of money that kept her there; it was sons who could not be bothered to take care of someone who was female, old and sick. Oh, and not really their mother, just some gold digging woman my grandfather had married in his old age. So she didn't count, you see. And that was the excuse for letting her lay in filth, with dried food on her face, with bedsores so vile that there was exposed pelvic bone, racked up on tranquilizers to keep her from screaming and 'making a fuss.'

Negotiations were discussed with the staff...should they keep her going? Or should they 'let her go'?
Oh, heavens no...let her go? That would be WRONG.

They actually discussed this. My parents, my uncles and aunts, discussed this with the staff, every visit, in front of me, in front of my grandmother. I was ten.

She laid there with a broken hip that refused to mend. Steel pins were needed to hold it together, and the incisions made for their insertion never healed. She laid there for years, constantly running a fever from low-grade infection until it destroyed her mind, neglected, unwashed, untended.

There were three sons sharing the expense. Three prosperous sons. Nobody had the character to make a decision about her care. Nobody wanted to take any blame. That was obviously a far worse thing than letting an old woman die in pain.

If I came within arms reach of my grandmother she would latch on to my arm so tight she would leave bruises, and she would repeat 'I want to go home, take me home, let me go' over and over again. The staff and my family would have to remove her hands by force. Then I would get hustled out into the hallway and scolded for upsetting my grandmother. And screamed at all the way home.
Because this was more acceptable than admitting to themselves the relief they felt at having an excuse to leave, you see.

I showed the newspaper to my parents when the article about the Stanley Home came out. I was screamed at. There was a scene. Both my parents rapidly became incoherent with rage. ' You dont know nothin about it! Thats none of your business!' Two people in their early fifties with flecks of foam, literally, gathering at the corners of their mouths, spittle flying, purple faced with rage, screaming noises at a ten year old child.
I was ten. I was the only one who cared, and I was ten. And I was absolutely powerless. There was nothing I could do.

So which god is responsible for this?

Despite my anger at religion I really do try to do the right thing. I believe that stuff about 'love one another.' I agonised over the commandment 'honor thy parents'. In the case of my parents 'honoring' meant keeping my family safe from them and making sure they had an estate administrator before I bid them and their venom adieu. It meant not pressing charges. It meant letting the entire episode come to an end, refusing to feed it, and repairing the damage.

In the case of my husbands father it seems to consist of watching him die by slow degrees and buying him a load of groceries every now and then.
I really hate this.


  1. I know there are no words and I am so, so sorry you are going through this. And sorry for what you went through with your grandmother. I do, however, understand the wishing a loved one death as a form of love. I've been wishing it on my grandmother and her Alzheimer's for years. No one thinks you are cruel.

    Again, so sorry.


  2. I thank you for sharing this on such an open and honest level. It's heavy to be sure and I just want to grab the little ten year old you and give you a big hug. I know the "honor thy parents" can be a toughey for me some time. It's just that my father died in 1989 and I am really just relieved at not having the complication of him in my life. Sad but true.

    I wish the best for you and your family and if it means your father in law's dying, let him go rest then. Sending good thoughts your way.

  3. Christine: hey. i belong to the yahoo groups 'new caregivers' support group. its a great resource if you need one. lots of the folks on there are struggling with altzheimers issues.
    thank you XO.
    g: yeah, thats what they fail to teach you. im doing fine. i just want there to be some way to FIX it. crap!

  4. Life is certainly never easy, is it...

    I hope that your father in law is soon released from his pain and sufferng. It's a very painful thing to watch someone you love go through things like this and be unable to help.

  5. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Sorry you (and anyone) are going through this. My Grandfather had many strokes over a 3 yr period. Losing his speach and ability to judge distances. What we intitially thought were paranoid ramblings of someone trying to kill him turned out to be a plea for someone to kill him. Awful for everyone and a release when he passed. Wishing someone dead out of love is real love.

    My thoughts are with you

  6. Anonymous12:12 PM

    Oh God your poor, poor grandmother.

    People who mistreat the elderly should be shot.

  7. This is the fourth attempt at me trying to type a comment, and then re-typing. It's difficult sometimes to find the right words.

    thinking of your


  8. I'm so sorry. This is just awful.

  9. pam: thank you. he's a very tough guy, my father in law.
    hardhouse: darling, thats fucked up. i'm sorry.
    whinger; i agree 100%.
    frobi: thanks, ratty. XO
    kyah: the present isn't as bleak as the past was, thank god.

  10. Although you feel so helpless, what shines through is the loving attention you and your man give to your father-in-law.
    What you couldn't do for your grandmother because you were a child, you are doing now? I wonder if that helps at all?
    Love to the three of you.

  11. Oh my dear... I'm so sorry. I hope he gets better, and I completely understand about the dying thing. Unfortunately, not the religious type, so all I can do is *big hugs across the water*
    Good luck my dear.

  12. I've just written (and deleted) several comments. I understand wholeheartedly the rage and frustration at the overwhelmingly hopeless unfairness of it all - the slow ignominious decline of someone you love and the constant dashed hope of their recovery. And, growing up within the catholic religion (not my parents who had the good sense to escape it but my grandparents and the rest of my extended family) I grew up with the "god never gives us anything that we can't handle" saying. Usually they said it from the safety of their own "charmed nothing ever goes wrong in their perfectly ordered lives and if it does we'll see who we can offload the responsibility onto".

    I'm sorry you had to go through what you went through with your grandmother (and I'm sorry that she had to go through it too). For an adult this experience would be devasting - how a child must have felt is beyond my understanding. The way that the majority of us treat our elderly is worse than criminal -it's evil and I'm with whinger on the shooting idea.

    Though its no consolation - just reading through these comments shows that you have a host of people who are wishing you and your family well right now. Put my name on the list too.

  13. ara; it does help. i try to focus on that.
    noshit: thank you, my darling. i appreciate it. XOO
    hendrix: oho, you see! yes! I was never so frightened as the first time the playboy of the western world had to go into interim care. i ran my finger over the picture frames, i barged into rooms...luckily everything was clean and cheerful! this too will pass, i know

    thank you everyone.