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Birthday Hospital


My dad was admitted to the ICU from his recovery center on my sister's birthday.
She called me - too early and sobbing - to ask me to go visit him since she couldn't make it back to town. Then my mom texted to ask what time I wanted her to take me there. This is how my family traps me.

It was mostly fine to see him. I teared up when I saw my Grandma's condition and when my dad was so shocked to see me. Like I used to be when he would show up at the door after weeks or months of not seeing him when I was little. Turns out he wasn't dying. Something about dangerously low blood counts.
There had been other emergencies that landed him in the hospital that I was never bothered for. I'm not sure why this one was any different or required me.
Because I showed up there, though, I was expected to go back. He called to try to bully me into coming to watch America's Got Talent one night, but I hate that show and couldn't see driving home from the hospital at 10pm. But I went back the next day after much prodding from my mother, my grandmother, and my Aunt (all of which I ignored).

That visit was not "not all that bad" as my boyfriend assessed upon our departure. He had been busy handling various business type things on his phone while I listened to my dad tell me about the life he should've lived. My Aunt had encouraged me to talk about the old times to keep his spirits up - my childhood before my stupid needy sister was born. And we did that for a while. He told embittered versions of the times I had thrown up on him or made him chase me through the baseball fields - all ending with jokes about how he never really liked me much.
When the meds started talking, I heard about the old times that he wanted to talk about. The life he used to have and imagined in front of him now. The one with his highschool teammates from his baseball and football teams who could've cheered him up (I did a terrible job apparently - he broke down and told me to please tell my sister that he's scared shitless and doesn't know how much longer he can do this). The life with a woman named Patty who would've made him a better man and a better father to their children.
Their children.
Not the ones he had with my mother - that bitch.
He should've been with Patty from the beginning - the love of his life. They've been together for the last 50 years in their hearts.

I had no emotional reaction to any of that at the time. I remember thinking that I didn't think I cared if he was scared or not. I flashed back to all the times I would start to ask him something - anything - when he was watching TV and always got "I don't care" as a response regardless of if I had even finished asking.

As it turns out, Patty is a real person. My Aunt has her in the text group where she gives updates on my dad's condition and next steps.
Not that my Aunt could be bothered to even respond to the text I sent her about who the Patty in the texts was. My mom's response when I asked her about it was "could be."
It was my sister who finally told me that it's true; she's talked to Patty several times; Patty feels a spiritual connection to my father and always has - since they were kids. I looked her up on FB. She looks a little bit like my mom. Just happier.

I've been bombarded with invites and offers for rides to go visit him again but I don't think I will. He's not dying. I don't have anything else to say to him. And I can't go there and hear his regrets that don't involve missing out on my sister and I.
It took a full five days for me to recover from it. I'm still so fucking angry.
I knew walking out of there that I wasn't loved - maybe ever. And that even if that's an over-reaction because of his intentions or his meds, it was the legacy that he gave me the day he left and every day after that when he still didn't give a shit about us.
It's not my responsibility to give a shit now.
It's not fair for these people to keep making me try to.

edit:
The poetry that my thoughts so often rise and fall in has been largely lost this year. I still glimpse it in my dreams but can't seem to pull it out. I know it's not lost but I sure do miss it when I reread these entries. My apologies. My life is not nearly so dire as my father's circumstances or the ones I find myself contemplating when he's around. I'm in the middle of it at the moment but will surely greet you smiling on the other side.

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