So my dad was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.
The dad I see once every six or seven years or so.
And I'm having a hard time deciding what my role should be.
The last time I saw him before he got sick was around Christmas. My sister, my boyfriend, and I met him for lunch at Applebee's. It was the least awful I can remember it being. Which made it worse, really. I was just starting to process his new-found interest in having a more frequent relationship with my sister and I when he got sick.
One of the symptoms of this particular brain tumor is a change in behavior.
It's very possible that's the reason his give-a-fuck was on the fritz.
Another symptom is memory loss. He's having a hard time focusing/remembering enough to read a book or watch a movie.
So it's this weird conversation in my head about whether or not I want to "be there for him" when he's not the man I know and I'm not the daughter he'll remember or even continue to give a shit about once he's better.
Or he might not get better. The more I learn about grade 3/4 pilocytic astrocytoma, the more it seems like this will kill him. Especially after 6 months of daily radiation treatments and oral chemo.
I don't know if I want to finally find some weird version of a relationship with someone who's not going to know me any better at the end of his life than he did at the start of mine.
I tried thinking about it as if he were a sick animal that I found on the side of the road. Because I like animals better than people and have all the mercy and compassion in the world for strangers. If I took that sick animal to the vet and they told me it was sick and going to die, would I pay to put it down or would I take it home and love it and help its remaining life be good? It would be my responsibility because I stopped for it, not because I was born because of it, but still. I think I'd take the poor thing home and try to be sweet to it. But that's the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip about the raccoon that lived long enough for them to love it enough so that when it died, it broke both of their hearts.
I don't know if there's any solace in that.
When I first heard that he was sick, I was bitter and angry about him interrupting my life. I told my mom that if he died right then, my life would change 0%. And I wasn't wrong. What's the difference if he's in Buffalo not giving a shit about us or dead? There's still zero contact and zero thought on either of our parts.
Now the only difference is that I know how shitty my grandma's life has been lately and I don't want to become her.
But my sister is doing the daughter in shining armor thing and I'm still not answering my phone when it rings with his number. She keeps trying to give me pointers on what to do and what to bring and what to talk about when I go see him but I'm not sure I can go back there. I can help getting him to and from his soon-to-be daily chemo appointments, I guess. But I don't know if I want to keep him company or watch him/my grandparents wither.
Which I'm pretty sure makes me a shitty human/daughter/everything. But the guilt hasn't and won't kick in thanks to a whole lot of very old and very real hurt feelings/memories. So it's just a fucked up and impossible decision at this point.
And yes, I know I'm not the one with cancer in this scenario and it's not about me. But that's the point. Why should I have anything to do with it? How does it fall to me?
Fucking adulthood bullshit.