Pour Your Heart Out: Facing A Parent’s Mortality

My dad had surgery last week.

Over the summer he was diagnosed with a calcified abdominal aortic aneurysm. Funny thing was, my dad was undergoing an ultrasound for a hip issue – they just happened to discover the abnormality. The CT scan proved the unwelcome guest and the size of it was apparently worthy enough for surgery.

My father, an “old school” type, normally refuses to see doctors and does just enough to manage his issues. Even when he got into an accident a few months ago, he refused medical treatment and only did a mere checkup at his primary care doc. So him agreeing to undergo this procedure was a VERY big deal. 

I wasn’t able to go up there because of Husband’s travel and of course the kids. I felt tremendous guilt for not being there. The anxiety and sadness were overwhelming. I was powerless to stop the awful feelings I was experiencing.

What if something actually happened to him? Does he have his wishes in order? How can I explain this to the kids about their Pop Pop?

And then the memories of what I had to face with my mom resurfaced.

My mom has dealt with kidney issues her whole life. It’s genetic – quite a few of my mom’s relatives (including her half-sister) are dealing with this. And ten years ago, my mother wound up in the hospital with acute renal failure. She was down to less than 10 percent kidney function. It was bad enough that she called on a clergyman, just in case.

Luckily, she was able to recover. She went on peritoneal dialysis, and after a two year wait, my mother got her kidney. Because of the genetic issue, my sisters and I were not allowed to donate – she had to wait on the transplant list. Eight years ago, we got our gift from a stranger. That kidney is still going strong which we are thankful for every day.

It’s amazing how things can make you stop and think about life and death. Quite frankly, it terrifies the ever-loving Jesus out of me.

I worry about my parents as they each deal with their own health issues. I worry about trying to convince my dad that he needs to take better care of himself. I worry about what could happen up there on the farm without one of the kids nearby. I haven’t been able to figure out when I can make the near six hour drive up to see them.

I worry about what will happen to my kids if something should happen to either Husband or me. I worry if enough measures are in place, especially for B. I worry that any moment life will suddenly change and I haven’t prepared well enough.

Sigh.

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About OneLoCoMommy

I live in Northern Virginia and and I look like the stereotypical suburban mom, for better or for worse. My son plays baseball and takes karate (albeit adaptive). My daughter is a gymnastics diva but rolls with the boys in T-ball. I've been a Room Mom and Playdate Coordinator. I work full-time, try to work out, and love my Book Club. However, I also blog on my experiences on our ASD, SPD and ADHD journey while trying to be a better parent advocate. All in a life's work.
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10 Responses to Pour Your Heart Out: Facing A Parent’s Mortality

  1. Mindi says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. How very scary. My dad is very similar and rarely goes to the doctor. Your mom’s story is so amazing. Organ donation is wonderful. I too worry about my kids and what would ever happen if something happened to me or my husband. I am certainly not prepared for something like that nor do I think you ever will be.

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  2. It is so scary to think about losing your parents. Sending lots of positive healing vibes your dad’s way.

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  3. “I worry that any moment life will suddenly change and I haven’t prepared well enough.”

    This. Exactly. As my parents creep into their mid-60’s, I find myself thinking about their mortality more and more often. And then wondering how I will cope. Because the truth is, I can’t imagine existing in a world in which they don’t. And that scares the hell out of me.

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    • OneLoCoMommy says:

      I remember when my grandmother died (my dad’s mother). We had gone up to the farmhouse. I distinctly remember my dad calling his work to tell them that he won’t be into work today because his mother had died. And now, that memory keeps popping up of when that will happen. It’s enough to throw you into an anxiety attack.

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  4. Sending prayers for your family! xo

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  5. Pingback: They Found Something. | One LoCo Mommy

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