Monday, 28 November 2011

Passing the Time

My parents are hoping to be back in Israel at the beginning of next week, once my father has begun the new cocktail of drugs (flogging a dead horse, anyone?). After that, my classes finish on the 15th and I should really be booking tickets. The question was when I should book a ticket back to the UK. My mother suggests that I should see my father before deciding on when I should head back. The implication is that he is not in a good way and I will need to decide whether to stay for the foreseeable future.

Sensible Brother and I have been talking about "after", a pretty transparent euphemism for "when my father dies". Mostly we have been talking about his worries and concerns, some of which are legitimate and some of which are unfounded but worrying nonetheless.

What has been interesting is the way in which the death of a parent forces you to grow up. Obviously, having lived away from my parents for a decade, I don't turn to them every time I have a sniffle or a lightbulb blows in my bathroom. But I do ring them if I need advice, if I am out of my depth or if it seems that there is something they should know. My brother is slightly more dependent, but that is mostly by choice. My father, cryptic man that he is, has a tendency to give advice that seems to have little foundation. When asked why he does things the way he does, he responds with "one day you will understand". My brother worries that he will live his whole life by the rules set down by my father, only to realise on his own deathbed, that he never did understand and simply followed the instructions doggedly, waiting for the answer to become clear. I explained to him that part of being an adult is learning to find your own answers and to evaluate the information that you are given against your own experience and against expert advise. If he is not sure about something, he could ask a lawyer, accountant, doctor, etc. Part of growing up is realising that your parents are people and do not have all the answers, as much as they might present themselves as though they do. But it is hard to digest the idea that someone you may have relied upon to have an answer will no longer be there, whether their answers are good or not.

I have been reading back over my posts and I can see how far we have all come on this god forsaken journey. As much as we will all have learnt and understood, my father will still be dead, and wisdom is little consolation for that.

Happy news is thin on the ground these days and will probably continue to be for the next few weeks. I regret to report that we are coming to the end of this war. All I can hope for is to keep my chin up and remember that life always kills you in the end.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The long and winding road

So my father's MRI scan shows that the tumours are spreading and are now completely blocking his bile ducts. This is bad. Basically, the doctor says that blocked bile ducts are "negative to life" , which I thought was a charming way to put things.

The new plan is to try a couple of types of treatment, but basically we are at the "prolonging life" stage of things. They are hopefully going to release my parents to Israel next week.

This is the final battle and my father is going to go out guns blazing. What does this mean for me? I am trying not to worry about the possibilty of missing the last few precious weeks with him and I will go as soon as I am sure that it's the right time. go

I had a momentary "bad" thought when I was told that they are going to continue treatment: "why won't the just let him die in peace?" This is a deeply selfish thought, but not necessarily one that I want to disown on that ground. Whose time are we buying and for what purpose? I am worried about the pain that my father might suffer, having seen my grandfather's pain a short time ago. I want us to be able to say that it was not a mistake to fight to the bitter end and that it was not sheer bloody mindedness that ultimately caused him more suffering, merely because we weren't ready to let him go. There is no question about him: he will never be ready to go and will leave this life as he came in, kicking and screaming. But maybe this is the wrong tack to take. Maybe it is less important to worry about how we will look back on this time and more important to try and make the best of now. We will all feel guilty about certain things that we did or didn't do, eventually, but, hopefully, we will remember what it was like here, in this moment. But I am ready to turn back the clock now. I don't really fancy coping anymore and would really like to go back to a time pre-cancer, pre-blog and pre- questioning every action in case it's the last. I'm ready. I keep seeing images of the Trojan war in my head. Achilles, Hector, Ajax, fighting a war they knew would kill them. Bring it on, bitches. We shall fucking overcome.