What’s the best way to deal with a parent or relative as they age. My aunt, my mother’s sister, raged through her decline with anger, denial and increasing hallucinations. My mother has taken a different approach, always the optimist, she tries to see the positive. But like my aunt, my mother is strong willed. Often when mom says yes it really a secret no.
My father was a pilot. He did not fly professionally but it was one of his passions. I remember in the 1960s he would practice takes off and landings in a two seater Mooney, with me in the copilot seat, at Philadelphia International Airport. There was a thrill of seeing jumbo jets taking off before us as we followed behind them in our little plane.
Trauma is a term we often hear talked about in communities of color and the LGBTQ community. There is an entire body of knowledge about how to support individuals who have had trauma. But what is trauma and how ordinary is it?
I have a vivid memory of a birthday when I was around eight years old. I had gotten a brownie camera that morning, a birthday gift from my parents. I was excitedly running around the house taking pictures. Suddenly dad was angry at me. I had done something wrong in the eyes of my father. I was never exactly sure what I had done. He got angry at me, threatening some kind of punishment. I remember being very hurt that my father was yelling at me on my special day. There was something about me that could bring out my fathers anger, even thought I knew he loved me.
In the early 1970s, the choices for my life were stark. My father showed me a model of the rugged individualist. Then there was my attraction to men and the life that homosexuality seemed to promise. Neither was what I wanted. Continue reading →
Gas shortages of the 1970s led to even and odd calendar day rationing
My father died last month at the age of 92 after a very long decline. He had no chronic condition but six-years ago had a heart valve repair surgery from which he never fully recovered. The rate of his decline was so slow that his caregivers and I were surprised that he did not pass away years ago. Over a period of six years, he slowly made his way towards death. Continue reading →
My two brothers and I, with our children, have all descended on the Florida town where my parents are renting an apartment for the winter. My mother’s desire to take my father, who at 90 years of age, is wheelchair-bound, out of the apartment for meals, movies, and tonight for s’mores, knows no bounds. Continue reading →
Whose life is this anyway? I went from living my new gay life with a sense of freedom, joy, and fun to caring for my wife who was dying of cancer, caring for my father who is dying of old age, caring for my college-age son who found himself accused of hazing and working with my siblings to clean up my father’s estate, which is a mess.Continue reading →