As Dad got worse, Al became farther back in the picture. I liked it better when he was fore most in my mind because he needed looking after. But B. felt that Dad was just a big burden and demanded more and more of my time.
One of the last visits Dad payed to his own home, it was in October. He had the urge to sit on his tractor one more time. B. came along and I met Dad out at the house, Al was home also.
Dad made me go get Al as he wanted to talk to him. It ended up not being talking, it was screeching about how things were not done the way Dad wanted them done. Our half-sister happened to stop by and my Grandma still lived on the property.
We were all getting things arranged in Grandma’s house as she was planning on moving permanently to Florida to live with her daughter. It was still pretty warm outside and the woods were in full color.
I didn’t know how we were going to get the tractor out of the barn. Dad had tried to climb on top of it but he was too weak. Just then my son pulled in the drive way and I asked him to bring the tractor out.
While my son was doing this B. was in the background bitching at Al because of this or that. I told her, “Stop it right now. You have no right to be speaking to him this way.Leave him alone and remember this is not your son nor your home.”
She gave me a dirty look and then proceeded to start in on our half-sister. It escalated very quickly and soon there was an arguing match in full force. I am so thankful my parents lived in the country. If we were in town the cops would definitely have been called.
Yelling and accusing was going on so long. When I glanced at Dad to see how he was dealing with this he was sitting in a summer chair and his body was trembling. He was so weak and also too afraid to interfere with this fighting.
I probably didn’t handle it the right way, but I told Al to go ahead and go back in the house where he would be safe. Al didn’t hesitate, he left right a way. I walked up between the sister and B. and stuck my hands out in between them. I probably looked like a traffic cop. I told them,” You are destroying Dad. Look at him trembling. You two should be ashamed of yourselves. If you want to argue and bitch, go somewhere else and do it in private. I want this shit stopped now. I will not sit here and watch you all destroy yourselves.”
Voices hushed and the air became quiet. B. was beginning to mumble under her breath and I gave her the look. She changed her train of thought and went to Dad and told him she couldn’t help herself. She just wanted to protect him. In my opinion she could just shove it and go to hell.
After the boxing ring became quiet, Dad went back to the issue of wanting to get on the tractor. My son and I tried and tried to hoist him up but to no avail. Finally I saw a five-gallon container. I went and grabbed it and placed it as a stepping stone for him.
He was able to get on and he sat there smiling. He tried to start the tractor but his legs were too weak to clamp down on any pedals. Getting him off was even harder. My son and I balanced him and sort of pulled him off.
There was no more arguing that day. B. had said what she wanted. Our half-sister was done defending herself and inside Grandma’s house. My son left, so all that was left outside was B., me and Dad.
I grabbed Dad’s mail and we all went back to the girlfriend’s home where I helped Dad inside. The day before when I had visited Dad I had brought over a toilet commode. He could barely get down on the seat to sit or stand to be wiped.
I had the leverage to grab him this and a walker. When we got inside her house and I had Dad seated and comfortable in his recliner, she called me into her kitchen. When I went to see what she wanted she had the commode in her hands. She made me watch as she tossed it out the back door. She commented or hissed, “No one is going to pretend they are sick in my house. There will be nothing here that represents sick.”
I watched her with intent as she tossed that and the walker outside. I went outdoors and grabbed the walker and brought it back inside. With Dad within hearing distance I played out a short clip of a silent movie.
I raised the walker and pretended I was going to slam her with it. She covered her head with her hands and inside I was having the time of my life. On the outside I was firm-faced and I mouthed to her, “He needs this, dammit, now get your shit together.”
She left the walker alone but put it on the back porch. I had to look at B. for the first time with sadness. Although I never met her husband who had passed I could imagine the memories of having another man you cared about dying in your home once again. That feeling of sadness didn’t really stay that long, as I knew that someone in her sixties should very well know better to take it out on another human being, no matter how bad it hurts emotionally.