Change of plans

Well, my plans have changed in just a few hours… This morning I posted about how nervous I was to leave Florida on Friday, and that I was going to be gone for two whole nail-biting weeks. Then this afternoon, I decided to fly back here on Monday. Shortly after that decision was made, I changed my mind and decided to just stay here and not bother booking a new trip.

There’s just no way I can leave town right now with a clear conscience.

With him getting weaker and weaker, and not eating, and sleeping almost all of the time, I realistically don’t know how much time he has left. My sister, who is a hospice nurse (and therefore deals with dying patients all the time), shared her concerns that these are signs that the end may be very near, indeed. At first I was thinking that a short weekend getaway would be good for me — it’s important for caretakers to have a break, right?

But then I pictured myself at my Ph.D. graduation party Saturday night, blissfully toasting with friends, as my dad sat by himself on the couch, alone in a probably dark room, while his body slowly consumes itself. And then I pictured myself at Sunday brunch, celebrating the birthday of a dear friend who’ll be visiting from overseas… and while I’m laughing and sipping mimosas, my dad breathes his last breath and his body grows cold, unnoticed for possibly hours.

Yeah, that’s some grim shit right there. How on Earth could I justify getting on a plane and going home, even for two days, when the end could come any day now? There’s just no way I could be okay with having made that choice if the time came while I was gone.

I know all the arguments for caretakers needing to do something for themselves. I desperately want to be home this weekend, both for planned events and for my own sanity. But I can’t go leave town, not like this. I already feel guilty about driving back to Jenn & Mike’s place to sleep at night, and I wake up each morning wondering if he’s still with us. Imagine how I’d feel getting on a plane.

It’s funny, a week ago I wrote about being in the airport and being afraid to leave it. Today I’m writing about being afraid to leave for the airport.

In happier news, I will be making a brief trip to the airport tomorrow… After weeks of Sal telling me that all I had to do was call and he’d drop everything, today I finally made that phone call. I went into another room, closed the door, called my husband, and bawled my eyes out. I’m tired of being strong, in the midst of all of this turmoil and upheaval in my life. I needed to be allowed to be weak, and I haven’t felt like it was okay to be weak since I left the airport and started heading this way. Today, I told Sal that what I needed was for him to be here, and he got right to work on making it happen.

It’s a huge relief, knowing that Sal will be here by lunchtime tomorrow. My family and friends here in Florida have been so supportive, especially my mom and Jennifer & Mike, but there’s something to be said for having your husband here to collapse on when needed.

I honestly don’t know when I’ll be back to New York. I’m tentatively hoping to be back by Friday May 20, so that Sal and I can go see some Austin people on Saturday the 21st, but obviously that’s all up in the air right now. All I know is that at this moment, I’m not leaving town while my dad needs me.

Sorry ’bout it, Florida, but I’m sticking around a bit longer.

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