On Wednesday night, my mother called my cell. “I just called 911! An ambulance is coming to get your father. He said he can’t breathe. I think he’s having a heart attack!” Luckily, my sister was already at my house for dinner. It wasn’t even a second thought…we left our uneaten food on the table and jumped in my car. Even though it took us nearly an hour to get there, we actually got to the hospital before the ambulance did.
Long story short, my father had a tear in his intestines, which lead to a major loss of blood, which caused the shortness of breath. They gave him a blood transfusion and ran a ton of tests and he was in the hospital until yesterday. My sister and I stayed at the hospital that first night until almost 11 pm, waiting until he was stable and was admitted.
I called my father in the hospital on Friday during my lunch break to check on him. There were a couple of my coworkers in the teacher’s room when I called and he got so frustrated because he could “hear people talking in the background” that he yelled at me and then hung up on me.
He wrote his first nasty email within hours of being released on Saturday. He wrote that my mother is a “terrorist” because she threw away his cigarettes…that no one cares about anyone but themselves…that all we do is take…and that it’s “time for (my sister and me) to do something for him and PAY HIM BACK for everything he has done.”
I had not seen my father since Christmas before seeing him in the hospital. I sometimes felt guilty about that until I reminded myself that it was because of his actions that I chose not to be around him. He was nice to us when he was in the hospital and I thought to myself, “he must appreciate that we drop everything and run to be by his side when there is a medical emergency”…nope.
I do not mean to make light of a medical condition at all and I am not implying my dad is lying about that. Rather, what I mean by comparing my father to the story of the boy who cried wolf is that every time the little boy cried “wolf”, the townspeople reacted. They ran to him to see how they could help…and they were disappointed each time to find that nothing was wrong. Yet, they did not learn. They fell for the boy’s story every time.
That’s me with my dad. No matter how upset I am with him, no matter how much he has hurt me, if something happens and he needs his family, I am there. And afterwards, when instead of being grateful for us, he is mean instead, I retreat like the townspeople. I am disappointed with him and with myself and question why I fell for it again. I wonder why I still care so much. I use the excuse, “but he’s my father” to justify worrying about him.
So, like the townspeople, I am naive and caring and gullible. But, eventually, my father is going to end up like the boy. A day might come when he once again needs his family, and none of us will come. I am not really at that point yet, but honestly a person can only care for so long. Each time this happens, I think my dad will realize how lucky he is that after everything he has done to hurt his wife and daughters, that we are still there for him and he will change*.
*Isn’t that the definition of “insanity”…doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?