Sunday, December 10, 2006
Looks like someone stole my idea...
I still can't believe this is happening, but I have to accept it:
Mary, my father's health care aide, who has been with us for the last 18 months, who basically ran this house and took care of my father's every need--has quit.
Like I said, I can't believe it.
I got the call yesterday morning when Mary told me she wasn't coming back. No two weeks' notice, no attempt at getting a replacement, she just cut and run.
I think of my fantasy of hopping aboard a passing ocean liner and getting away from my father and my life forever, but Mary beat me to it.
As I pleaded with her to stay, explaining that I have a full-time job and can't possibly take care of my father, Mary started crying. She said she couldn't deal with my father's sexual advances anymore.
Now, believe me. I know my old man is a pervert; he always has been. And with the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's or whatever the hell he's got, his behavior has gotten much worse.
Mary said that on Friday my father followed her around the house, demanded that she "pleasure" him (sorry about the details) and wanted her to kiss him.
I know this terrible behavior, but it is nothing that she hasn't experienced before. In the past, Mary always made a joke about my father's remarks, saying she was going to hit him over the head with his cane.
But now, this tough-talking Brooklyn dame, has gone all soft on me. She's become a surrender monkey and left me holding the bag. She sure made a monkey out of me.
Needless to say I freaked; ran up and down the hallway cursing, swearing to puy my father in a nursing home and be done with him. Fuck it, if Mary can bail, why can't I?
Here and There
I feel angry and betrayed. Mary didn't just walk out on my father, she walked out on me. I considered her a friend, I spoke to her every day on the phone, I asked about her new grandson (I bought the kid a present when he was born, for Christ's sake). She gave me advice and comfort. I just don't understand what made her do this.
I put so much trust into Mary; up until yesterday, I would have said that she is the last person on God's green earth to pull a stunt like this.
I always felt so comforted when Mary called me from the house and said two simple words: "I'm here." That meant I could relax, that my father was receiving the best possible care.
Mary was a great cook and an incredible shopper. She could scope out a sale on paper towels or some other important item with her eyes closed. And she took such great pride in her work.
"My father always told me if you can't do a job right," she'd say, "then don't do it at all."
Maybe that's our answer, maybe Mary felt she couldn't do the job right anymore and had to bail. I read about a British heavyweight fighter who, after of years in the ring, just lost his nerve, and stood in the corner crying while his opponent rained punches down on him.
My sister, who often butted heads with Mary, was sympathetic to her situation. She thinks Mary has other issues going on that we don't know about. That might explain the disappearing act, but it sure as hell doesn't excuse it.
Buddhists say that compassion is the root of all virture and I am doing my best to show compassion toward Mary. But I've problems of my own right now and compassion is in short supply.
My sister spoke with Mary and gave her a week's paid vacation. She encouraged Mary to get some rest and decide if she wants to come back. For this week, we have a night aide, Edith, a Jamaican lady who agreed to live in with us.
Edith it is very dependable, very efficient, but she's not Mary. But then, I see now, that neither is Mary.
So now I have to train another person. I've got to figure out what Mary did and try to emulate it. For that reason alone, I'd like her to come back, but I know it will never be the same between us.
I can never trust her again and those words, I'm here, have lost all meaning. She may be here, but what we had is gone forever.