As you may have noticed I haven't been around much for the past year? Two years?
Well, anyway, aside from my life getting turned upside-down three years ago due to a complete change in my career -- and me returning to school -- part of that was due to my father being diagnosed with multiple system atrophy (MSA). It's a fairly vicious nerve disorder that goes undetected because of its non-specific symptoms.
One year ago, my dad may have been unsteady on his feet, but he could still drive. Yesterday, my dad was barely capable of walking, and what little he could do could only be done with the aid of a walker.
It's the hardest thing in the world to witness. My dad was a mailman. He could walk miles and not even feel the strain. Only to wind down to something like this.
It's not an exaggeration to say that sometimes I would come home from visiting on Sundays so I could take my parents for a drive or run errands for them, and would burst into tears minutes after walking through the front door. Hell, sometimes I would get off the phone after talking to him (it was difficult for him to form words at times), and I would burst into tears again.
His biggest fear was that he would end up bed-ridden and in a nursing home. God knows my mother did everything in her power, as did my brother, to make sure that he could stay home as long as possible.
And truly, my mother and my brother bore the brunt of the burden since they were right there, and I was living 45 minutes away. My job (such as it was) was to be the safety valve for everyone so they could vent when they needed to, or to fill in for my brother when he needed a break.
(Truthfully, something really karmically good needs to happen for my brother. If any man deserves it, y'know?)
Right. I'm rambling.
*takes deep breath*
So, my dad died this morning. A stroke that hit him so hard that he didn't know what hit him. It was sudden, and it wasn't.
The point is, he had breakfast with my mom. They watched their morning news shows. Then he went to the bathroom. My mother got distracted by a call, and a half-hour went by before she realized that he was still in there.
She found him on the floor, already gone.
So...bad day for the family. But, strange as this may sound, a good day for my dad.
He died exactly the way he wanted to. At home. After having a nice morning with my mom. On a beautifully warm fall day. And so suddenly that he never saw it coming.
Anyway, ummm, sorry for the rambling. I'm not exactly at my most emotionally stable at the moment, as one poor stranger learned this evening.
I was going in to vote in the special election primary (Why? I have no friggin' clue, given the day I just had. I think I was operating a bit on automatic to be honest.) and some guy looked at me and randomly told me to "cheer up and smile."
To say I snapped at him would have been a massive, massive understatement.
So, yeah. Not exactly a good person to be near at the moment.
I know things will be okay. I know this is for the best. But it's gonna be a tough holiday season coming up.
But we'll get through it.
'Cause that's the thing when bad things happen. It might feel like the world has ended, but when you crawl back to your feet the most amazing thing happens.
The world, as it turns out, is still there.
And that's not a bad thing.