Thursday, January 03, 2008

daddy

I google his name and 10 pages of papers and honors and awards rise to the surface from this thing he does not understand, this internet. He retired in 1980, long before there were computers in every home and hand. I read ultraviolet spectroscopic analysis and biodegradation of hydrotopes and cyanoethylation of amino acids. I see his work translated into French, into Japanese, Spanish. I feel an almost intolerable rage over the destruction of such a magnificent intellect.

It doesn't help to wonder why, to agonize over the injustice of it, this fucking dementia. I speak to him several times a day and each time, as he repeats his queries about my sister, her kids, "the Floridians," my dogs, I can see in my mind's relentless and unflinching eye the black space on the MRI where the fullness of his frontal lobe used to be.

I fight off the rage with gratitude: he is still with us, he can still communicate, can still laugh. His personality is mostly intact. We are fortunate, in part, because of the magical combination of Namenda and Aricept. And still I miss my other father, the one with whom I would argue politics, human rights, and religion. He is here and I am grateful and so fortunate, and still I miss my Daddy.

It occurred to me as I walked to work this morning that he is 90 years old and yet I see him rarely. My priorities are out of whack and I don't want to live with regret, the most wretched of emotions. I will keep up with all of you, but I am done here for now. There is so little time left. Thank you for your support and kindness and brilliance over the last 18 months. It's been a blast. Hugs to all of you.

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32 Comments:

Anonymous Dennis in Chicago said...

Lynnette,

Do what you must. Please know that I will miss reading your thoughts. You are a beacon of reason in this maddening world.

I miss my parents greatly and can understand your desire to spend as much time as possible with your father. The regret? I know it well. My sister (who lives 350 miles away) is holding on through end-stage cancer and I regret every day that I cannot be there to spend more time with her and assist in whatever way she asks.

Love you much. Come back when you can/want.

January 03, 2008 9:38 AM  
Anonymous tater said...

OH NO! Say it ain't so! Selfishly, I need your voice, your intellect, your reasoned arguments, your companionship! I agree with you that prioritizing your life for your loved ones is essential, and I am doing the same for my dad and the rest of my circle, but this blogging tool is an outlet. Important outlet. When you want to rant, scream, climb the walls, this thing is here to serve you. How about limiting your time to one post a week? Let's say Fridays? This news is so distressing to me, Belle. Wish there was a way to keep you at it, but acceptance is a gift I owe you for all of the gifts you have given through your writing. I am hoping that you reconsider, and attempt moderation instead of all or nothing, but as an addict, I know how difficult that can be. Hugs to you and your daddy! I am hoping that you leave the door open a crack, and sneak back in from time to time to post...

January 03, 2008 11:00 AM  
Blogger evilganome said...

I have to agree with our Tater Treat. And not just 'cause I want to jump him. Leave the door open and if you need to vent, or have people let you know they are thinking about you, you could post when you felt like you had the time and needed the outlet.

January 03, 2008 11:19 AM  
Blogger sageweb said...

Oh I am so sorry, I love your posts. I am your biggest fan on the Joe.My.God comments. I agree with Tater and Evilganome, posting is theraputic. I know you have to do what you have to do...one day at a time!

January 03, 2008 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Lynette:

Whatever your decision, please know that you have been a wonderful touchstone to decency.

January 03, 2008 1:30 PM  
Blogger Da Nator said...

I agree with what everyone said! But I also understand about prioritizing. We just came from visiting Mrs. Nator's Nannie, who is 93. She can barely remember what was said from one moment to the next, but she is still a treasure to be around. Mrs. Nator cried on this visit because, despite my and her mother's urgings, she hadn't been down to visit in nearly a year. I guess sometimes one doesn't even realize that the emotional difficulty of visiting makes one subconsciously avoid it. Don't let this happen to you!

And if you get a chance, do let us know how it goes, and how you're doing...

Happy new year, Belle.

January 03, 2008 1:55 PM  
Blogger David said...

Holy Crap!

One blog award and she's ready to retire!

KIDDING, I'M KIDDING.

Wow, we will really miss you here in the blogosphere. I hope you will revisit us from time to time. Best to you and yours. You know where to find me.

xo

January 03, 2008 3:46 PM  
Blogger Stash said...

Oh no!

I was thinking of you a few days ago and now this.

Please keep in touch -- if not here, then elsewhere on the net. Your love if it disappeared completely would be missed by a great many.

January 03, 2008 4:19 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

I will only repeat what I have said in the recent past: I am moved by your passion and compassion. Sadly those two qualities will mean you leave us for a while. But the choice is the right one - but as others have said we are here anytime you want us just as you have been here for so many of us.

Much love

Will

January 03, 2008 5:32 PM  
Blogger Ms. Place said...

Ah, Lynette, I too have been distracted with Mom's difficulty in recovering from her operation, and with events that simply take precedence over maintaining one's blog. I have missed visiting your wonderful blog and taking in the sheer wonderfulness of your talent for expression, and your outrage in defense of the poor and oppressed. I know we will cross paths one of these days.

My thoughts are with you. Family is all. Priorities must be met. Yet, yet, I shall miss visiting you.

Happy New Year, and much luck to you. Hold your dad's hand, love him, and do your best. You will not regret making this decision. God bless.

January 03, 2008 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Mark H said...

I'm ALSO saying Say it isn't SO! But how well you once again have recalled my own experience a few years back when my own Father was approaching the end of congestive heart failure and being forced to accept his remaining time spent on a hospital bed laying in the house living room.... YES, this puts one back into the family track, and properly so, and it pays lifetime dividends to embrace the reality of what memories these will be for the rest of your life as Daddy unwillingly slips further away. You will have NO NO NO regrets spending all your thoughts and time you can with him. For some of us whom you have inspired to great lengths, we will simply hope, as Tater & Gnome expressed, you feel a need to vent occasionally, because you DO have a rare talent to communicate through the heart. Best to you...............

January 03, 2008 7:42 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

you all are making me feel teary. i am not going away forever or probably even completely. i can't keep my mouth shut, so it's hard to hold my fingers still.

but i felt like i needed to make a stopping point here for at least a little while, because i have been caught up in so many things that really matter not that much at all.

this isn't one of them. i love the people i have met while doing this thing called blog :-)

but i am feeling a strong pull to focus on my dad right now and i think it's important to follow that urge. there are weekend mornings when i could drive 100 miles to see him and i find reasons to stay at home, among them, this deal right here.

so shutting it down. i doubt forever. for a while. and you can't imagine how much all of your kind words mean to me.

i'm around. you'll see me on your blogs. and i love you all. you are precious and important to me. thank you.

January 03, 2008 9:33 PM  
Blogger LSL said...

Oh, BAB. I will be thinking of you as you sort and figure and work and wrestle. What a difficult place to be. If you go away I'll miss you TERRIBLY, but we're here to support you and I understand and trust your decision and priorities. Sending lots of hugs.

January 03, 2008 9:50 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Lynette-

Having just been through a sudden and unexpected loss, I can't quantify what I would give for one more day with Mom. Spend time with your Father, you will always be grateful that you did.

Please check in with us when you can. We love you.

You rock.

January 03, 2008 10:16 PM  
Anonymous TedBear said...

You run your own business. You are busy all day long! I cannot imagine the hours devoted to creating content for BAB. While I will selfishly miss my daily BAB, time with beloved family members is time well spent. Regrets suck, and you won't have any regrets from spending more time with your wonderful father.

We live in town, and motivate my 80 and 86 year old parents to drive into the City every Saturday to visit a new restaurant. Since we are all foodies, the conversations are wide ranging, and much discussion occurs through the week on where to go on Saturday for lunch. My parents research all week for the right restaurant. Sometimes we go Sunday for brunch, but always once a weekend.

Good luck, good fortune, and good thoughts and prayers your way. You will thank yourself for this decision down the road, because, you will not have any regrets.

Xo, Lynette. One day at a time.

January 04, 2008 1:08 AM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

Ah, Lynette. Of course it's understandable - no question there.

Ditto Tater; he put it so beautifully. Just read Tater's comment ... oh, maybe a dozen times?

I think people's reactions to the possibility of suddenly losing your voice from the blogosphere is not just from our own selfishness. You truly do have a gift, Lynette. The way you say things is so clear, heartfelt, honest, and well written. There's also an intangible piece, though, I can't find the right words for it, other than to say you have a rare gift for writing, and your voice is one I feel needs to be heard during these times of insanity. So ... ditto Tater. Do what you need to do, of course you should focus on your daddy. But please come back from time to time...

hugs to you, Lynette.

January 04, 2008 2:15 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

Lynette, you gotta do what you gotta do. I took a little hiatus a while back, for no other reason than I felt that I'd run out of things to say, and it was wonderfully therapeutic. Just know that I'm only an e-mail away, 'kay?

January 04, 2008 7:18 AM  
Blogger Y | O | Y said...

Examining your priorities is a good thing. Perhaps a shift where blogging and your Dad both get attention? Why give up something you love for some one you love? I've found that blogging has helped me with my decision to be with my mom. As Tater said, maybe scale back. And refocus.

Good luck to you and warm wishes to your Dad.

January 04, 2008 7:48 AM  
Blogger Doralong said...

Lyneyye-

I genuinely will miss your wise and funny self, and your outrage and your crazy ass sense of humor.

But family comes first, always. Take the time you have left with your Daddy and cherish it. Rarely does a day go by when I don't regret not spending more time with Mamma..

But poke your head in around bloggerland once in a while so we all know you're OK. Pretty please??

January 04, 2008 11:24 AM  
Blogger Dusty said...

Lynette, life does take precedence over blogging. I hope that you find peace with your father while you can.

My husbands stepmother is an alzhiemers sufferer. She is sometimes as quick as can be..other times she is back in the 50;s. She lives in OK while we are in CA..it makes the hubby sad and frustrated to say the least.

Be well my dear sweet friend..I love you and will miss your wonderful posts..let us know when you come back here ok?

January 04, 2008 2:02 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Lynette--Blogging serves a purpose for many of us and maybe you've gotten all you can out of it for now. I applaud your decision to spend time with your Dad and reprioritize the things that really matter. Know that you will be missed here tremendously--but leave the door open in case you feel like coming back. I'll look for your usual spot-on comments on Joe.My.God. Stop by and visit me when you can, too! Much love and warm thoughts to you. xoxo
Michael

January 04, 2008 2:43 PM  
Blogger TankMontreal said...

You know you've been my Blog Mamma for practically all my blogging months. I'm real sorry to learn you're taking a sabbatical. On the upside, now there'll be time to read your earliest pieces.
Godspeed, Lynette. Miss you already. Big tankhugs.

January 04, 2008 6:22 PM  
Blogger eric3000 said...

What? Really?

Well, we will really miss your almost daily posts.

You go do what you need to do. But please make sure you keep in touch.

Your writing is moving and funny and inspirational and I thank you for all the energy you have put into this blog.

Eric

January 04, 2008 10:23 PM  
Blogger rodger said...

Dear sweet Lynette...I'll miss your voice, your perspective and your uncanny ability to clearly and concisely express what so many of us feel. I feel lucky to have found you so long ago when your blogroll was short and I was honored to be added back in those early days.

I'm thrilled to be able to call you a friend and I'm thankful for the friendships I've found through your blog.

I wish you and your daddy the best and hope you'll keep us in the loop from time to time and allow us to offer our support during this extremely difficult and important time in your life.

Your voice in the blogosphere is truly rich, important and NECESSARY. I look forward to future posts when you have the opportunity.

I love you bunches, sweet Belle, and will miss you terribly!

January 05, 2008 2:10 AM  
OpenID orlith said...

(((Lynette)))

January 07, 2008 3:47 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Oh honey, I know what you're going through. it's so hard. My father- who learned every language he ever bumped into, whose amazing memory held many encyclopedia's worth or knowledge that was at his finger tips at a moment's notice - had Parkinson's dementia for the last years of his life. it was so awful to see the things that utterly defined him disappear. Like you, he was there, but my intelligent, articulate, funny daddy wasn't. Hang in there dear. You're doing what you know is right, and that's what matters. Hugs

January 08, 2008 12:43 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

And I've just started reading ...

Good on you (one of my daddy's sayings) for recognizing priorities and not wanting to live with regret - which ism truly, the most wretched of emotions.

Best to you. I hope to know more of you.

January 12, 2008 9:42 AM  
Blogger The Milkman said...

Angel,

Take time. Enjoy being with your dad. Recharge your batteries and your spirit.

We'll be here when you get back.

January 16, 2008 11:21 AM  
Blogger SubtleKnife said...

Lynette,

Thank you for all the wonderful stories and insights. I'm glad to hear you will still keep in touch with us.

I hope you get to spend a lot more time with your daddy yet.

January 17, 2008 5:03 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Dear Lynette.

Of course you must do what your heart tells you and it's a great thing to walk against the current of the modern world and place relationships in front of personal life or career or whatever. Lynette, I'm sure I'm not the only one here who has benefited from your support and kind words over the years. I'm so grateful. It took me far too long to realise who this Big Ass Belle was - the famous Lynette, queen of Joe.My.God comments. Thank you so much for sharing your story, for visiting my blog and making me feel less alone with my own situation with my Mother. I wish you all the time you need to love your Father. He sounds like a marvellous man and your devotion is as much a testament to that as all his academic honors.

Love

Greg

January 20, 2008 5:09 PM  
Anonymous www.democratz,org said...

I hope for your father's recovery, Belle.










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January 22, 2008 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Michele said...

Yikes. Do what you can/must and know that so many appreciate you.

January 23, 2008 10:51 PM  

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