Coming Face to Face with My Mortality

On December 21, 2011, my dad was discovered at 1 pm, in and out of consciousness, laying in his backyard. He was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where it was determined that he had a stroke.  The circumstances surrounding his stroke are very sad however, he has made great improvement.  My dad was born and grew up in Tifton, Georgia. His mother gave  birth to two boys. She gave my father away to her mother to raise and kept the lighter skinned child. My dad’s childhood was short because he had to feed and clothe himself at a young age. He dropped out of high school at the age of 17.  As soon as he did, he is drafted in the US Army, where he served a tour of duty. He met my mom on a blind date and they hit it off. (Or so it seemed) They married in 1958 and had three children. One girl,(me) and two boys,( my brothers). My oldest brother died from cardiac arrhythmia, triggered by acute renal failure. He was mentally retarded and what I learned from him is immeasurable. I learned compassion for man kind and I learned to understand the differences in people. I can go on and on, but this blog is about my dad.

My dad took a liking to less fortunate females early on as my childhood could remember. My issue is not with the less fortunate per say  My issue is with the bottom feeder mentality that never ceases with them. Always scheming and always taking. Every opportunity is seen as a opportunity to yank somebody’s chain to get what they want, which is immediate gratification. My father was fixated on them.  He would pick up single mothers with kids and take them to the store and help them. He was also, sexually attracted to women my age. Another problem with this was that he did not show that same love and compassion at home. With his wife and children, he was aloof, and socially inept.  Not really a dad. He kept himself occupied with auto repair, TV repair, electrical, plumbing and auto body repair. And, he worked at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia for over 35 years in the maintenance services area. He was also an alcoholic.  The deeper he got into assisting the less fortunate, the less he did for his children. He was emotionally unavailable to us. He would only spend $28.00 dollars at the grocery store (When it was his turn to feed us) and that was supposed to feed a family of 5 ( Two cousins were living with us too). In 1983,  my mother  had enough and moved away from him.  I went with her.  When he retired and had nothing to do, his friendships with the  less fortunate took a turn for the worse. His friends were  alcoholics, crack heads, criminals, and prostitutes. All of whom received all of his time and attention. He was available to us only when we needed something fixed, and as long as it didn’t require money. My memories of him is  images of cars, grease, tools, car parts, TV parts, and lots of books and magazines. He lived like a bachelor, even though he had a wife and three children. (One child with special needs).

My dad laid in his cold and wet backyard for some 12 hours, suffering from a stroke. The first girl that found him,(So I thought), her name is Doreen or Dorian. She stole some juice from him and that set things in motion. He followed her out in the yard, yelling and screaming about the juice, and passed out. She was with him outside in the backyard at 2 am on the night of December 21, 2012. She left him in the yard, laying on the wet ground, temperatures went down to the low 30s. And it had rained two straight days, prior. His next door neighbor, saw him laying on the ground, thought he was drunk and ignored him. It was not until another crack user female, Dee Dee heard him making sounds as she walked by, (So I thought), discovered him in the yard, and called the ambulance. That was at 2 pm, the next afternoon. So he laid in the yard, in and out of consciousness, for 12 hours until someone with an ounce of compassion, called the ambulance.  Then, my dad’s crack user girlfriend, Rhonda, came and she became fixated on my dad’s wallet. She tried to get it before  he got on the ambulance but was unsuccessful. Her fake step dad aka (Boyfriend) rode in the ambulance with my dad and got his keys that had fallen. She tried to get his wallet again at the hospital but by then, hospital rules kicked in…Only a family member could receive his property.

I made it to the hospital emergency room and saw my dad. Another female from the street was in the room with him (She seemed genuinely concerned for my dad.( And she told me how much he has done for her.) She was feeding him, banana pudding. He could talk but he was rambling and his left hand and arm shook uncontrollably.  The nurse told me he had suffered a stroke and there was some bleeding from the brain and another CAT scan would be done to see if there were any improvements. She told me when he was brought in, his body temperature was real low, down to 90 degrees. And she said he could not move his left side. But now, there was movement on the left side.  The nurse showed me the bag where his clothes were and told me he was wet when he came in and he had urinated on himself repeatedly. I retrieved his wallet from the bag and his cell phone. (I said to myself as I looked at his bag of clothes)  “The rest is headed to the nearest trash can.”

His girlfriend and fake step dad made arrangements to bring the keys to my mother. They made it and dropped off the keys and my mother gave the fake stepfather $20 for bringing the keys to her.  Me and my brother went over to check out the house and quickly learned that the keys, did not fit any of the doors, inside or outside of the house and his car keys were not on the ring either.  A locksmith was quickly called and they changed the top and bottom locks on the main door, which was the back door to my dad’s section of the house. A quick assessment and video taping showed that my dad’s living condition was far worse that any episode of “Hoarders” I have ever seen. However, nothing appeared to be missing. And we needed to go back and make a thorough assessment of what was taken, if anything. Making matters worse, we’d have to go through piles on top of piles of junk and clothes before an inventory could be completed.

The first update on my father is very good. He made it through two and a half months of rehabilitation. He was able to walk with a cane and is on a lot of medicine. When he was released from rehab. He had to come home with us, rather than return to our childhood home. He turned the basement into a hoarders paradise. Food, junk and clothes, were piled high and everywhere, throughout the basement, backyard, and a room, off from the kitchen. The state came, at one point and cleaned up the backyard, due to complaints. But he had it messed up, again.

As I looked at my dad, he was making jokes and talking crap. It was funny, but I couldn’t laugh. What caught my attention was him. I looked at him really good and I saw myself. I look just like him and his mother. In that alone, I knew what I would look like when I get old, God willing.  I walked in his foot steps, for a season,  with the people in the streets. I hung out and embraced those bottom feeder people too, while getting high on drugs. They knew I didn’t belong and they robbed me and used me to no end. I woke up from that experience (Thank You, Lord) and now, the only way I step into the hood is to serve court papers or take statements in an ongoing investigation. I got my creative side from him and my entrepreneur spirit from him. I don’t have one trade, I have a cluster of trades like he did.  And its the cluster of trades that keep my phone ringing with new and repeat business.

The second update here is also good. I took him to a medical doctor, as a follow up to his rehabilitation release. The medical doctor drew his blood and then told us, there’s nothing more he could do for my father. And then, referred my father to a medical doctor, who also treats geriatric patients.  I found out that the doctor who referred us, also sees this doctor, personally. I felt pretty good about that. The new doctor, was given all medical records from the hospital and rehabilitation facility. He said he’s concerned my father may have blockage in his arteries. I noted to the doctor, that his blood pressure is elevated, whenever he walks. The doctor told me that because of the type of stroke he had (Aneurysm), and he wanted his blood pressure to stay elevated around 140-150/80. I think I said that right. He also referred my father to a cardiologist, for further analysis.

My dad, meanwhile, was pulling all the tricks out of the box, trying to get back over to my childhood home, which is his home. He don’t realize the magnitude of his sickness. He wants to get back to the female drug users and help them with their lives and get sexual favors from. If we let him go now, he’d be dead in 30 days or less.  He’s on anti-seizure medication, which means, he can no longer drive a motor vehicle. He wears a diaper and walks with a walker. He looks like a frail old man, trying to cling to what’s left of his life span. I get it. He wants his independence back.  And that would have been possible, if he had gone to the doctor, for routine checkups, earlier on. He is 78 years old. He will be 79, in June. He has infection in his body, that’s reoccurring. He stays on a different course of antibiotics, constantly. It’s very sad and I feel so sorry for him. I wish I could make it all go away. One trip to his home, he managed to sneak and left money in the yard for his girl friend, Rhonda. (Had I seen it, she would’ve gotten zero.)

My love of animals came from Dad. My pigeon toes came from his mom.  My kind heart came from both my mom and dad. My business mind came from my mother. I don’t age hard like my father. I age like my mom. I’m 51 but don’t look it. My mom is from Washington DC and my dad is from Tifton, Georgia. So I have a healthy mix of the city and of the country. I used to enjoy walking barefoot with my poodles, walking right with me. As I looked at my dad, I faced my own mortality. I realize too,that I may lose him through all of this.  I love my dad. I’m not ready to lose him. I am ready to break the ties he have with the street people. If one more street woman come to me, praising my dad for all that he has done for them, I think I will throw up. Because he was robbed and taken advantage of much worse than me. One left him on the wet ground to die in his own backyard, covered in urine.

I have power of attorney papers in place for my dad to have my mom take charge of his affairs. And those people in the streets that he seemed to enjoy so much, will be expunged from his life. If I can help it, he will never see those people again. My dad is wealthy and did not have to live that way. But now, he will live as he should. Loved and cared for, in his own element.

I know this blog seems like I harbored a lot of resentments, regarding my dad. And you’re right. I was holding anger inside for the way we were treated. He gave the streets more time and attention than his wife and kids. However, life is too short to hold on to resentments. I forgive my dad for all his shortcomings. Having my parents under the same roof again, is a blessing of its own. We are not getting any younger. I have made peace with all of that. I forgive my father and just accept him for who he is.  I love my family. Flaws and all.

The third update here is not good. The clogged arteries came back to haunt my dad. They found 90% blockage in his neck and blockage in his heart. He was sent to University of Maryland Hospital after Prince Georges Hospital could not put a stint in his artery. They said his arteries were almost like dried spaghetti, before its cooked. University of Maryland did a bypass procedure on his heart but was unable  to address the blockage in his neck. They sent him back to a rehabilitation facility, however, his health went into rapid decline. He lost over 40 lbs, he developed a swallow dysfunction, acid reflux dysfunction, a mild case of dementia, hearing loss and his speech is limited. He refused a feeding tube and had to have I.V. fluids often as he can’t drink, because of the swallow dysfunction.

The doctors again said there is nothing more that can be done for him. So hospice care brought him home, so he can live his final moments at home.  We are waiting for the ambulance to bring him because he has lost all muscle functionality. He has to be transported via stretcher. I reached out to a clergy, who came out to talk to my dad. My dad never went to church, read a bible, or had any time getting to know Yah. She came out and spent time talking to us first before going into see daddy. When she went in, he first told her he was not interested. she went in two more times and on the third time, I heard him yell out, “I don’t know God.” She asked him if he wanted to talk to anyone, and of all people, he chose me. I went in and he broke down in tears and told me he was sorry. He asked if I would forgive him. I said, “Yes, I forgive you and I love you too.” And I hugged him.  The clergy asked him if he loved me and he shook his head yes. That conversation melted years of confusion and resentment built up inside of me. Daddy lived with us for two weeks and then he died on May 3, 2013, which was on my birthday.  It was a sad day, indeed. I watched the funeral home wrap his body to take out for finality. I helped hold his face while a scarf was tied around his head and chin, because his mouth was stuck in an open position. I led the family in prayer before they took dad out for the last time and I must say, Yahusha held me together and kept me from falling apart. He was cremated as he requested and we had a private ceremony for him. His urn is at home with us, along with his flag and pictures.

Final update is not good. I learned the Doreen or Dorian and Dee Dee were there the night my dad had the stroke. There was no fight over juice. They were trying to rob my dad and knocked him off the ladder onto the ground, where he suffered the stroke. They left him on the ground and Dee Dee returned to the scene of the crime to find out he was still laying there, in the middle of a stroke. She called the ambulance and then played the role of a hero. What she and Doreen or Dorian did was set in motion, a chain of events, that my dad eventually succumbed to. From December 21, 2011 until May 3, 2013, my dad struggled, unsuccessfully, to get his life back. Yah bless both of those women, because what goes around will always come around. I forgive them for their deeds. I hate the sin, not the sinner. Amen,

by Joan Farley

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About jfarley53

Being 56 is wonderful. I have so many new and jumbled insights on life.
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5 Responses to Coming Face to Face with My Mortality

  1. Hilbert Sandifer says:

    This Xmas morning my twin called me to express “issues of the heart” concering my absence from family events. “You never know when one of us die,we should embrace the day, for tommorrow is not promised”. You see, I was holding a grudge against my oldest sister and niece fornot supporting me like I wanted them to. I decided to go and would you believe it , I had a great time! They were happy to see me and we start talking about our days growing up in the projects. I left my neice’s houseand thought about how I missed those family events because I was stubborn. But never again! I will be at every event possible.

    I say this because for all your father has not done for you and your siblings, you still love and care deeply for him. And you are not like your father. He’s himself and you are you. You have learned from his mistakes and avoid the abyss that he has fallen in. I see that in how aggressive you are in handling your business. With the help of God and your determination, things are happening for you. In my opinon, your father was never given a chance to be the man he could have been. Not making excuses for him, just expressing what I feel (and read).

    Every day cherish the time that he’s alive. I know I will. And all it took was one phone call.

  2. Ravi B. says:

    It is graphic prose. It proves that you are equally at ease and full in command when it comes to writing prose or poem. It proves your versatility. The more I know of you the more I like you, respect you, admire you and cherish our friendship. You are brutally blunt and coolly candid.

    I am indeed happy to have known this aspect of your persona. I profusely thank our common link, Ivor. He too is a great human being.

    I am sure that my journey through TAGGED has been fruitful and fulfilling one.
    Love & Hugs

  3. Lovely Joan! This story is from your heart and it touched mine. Keep going you talented beautiful woman! 😉

  4. jnyobe51 says:

    I cannot fix your issue. I wrote and submitted my blog using Google Chrome. I don’t know what to tell you.

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