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The Subtle Teachings of Television Drama.

There are times when Tom does something that make me think I’m going to burst with happiness. He always makes great impressions with people, he is such a charmer. He had my Aunt, uncle and cousin eating out of his hands within a few minutes. He constantly showers me with gifts, but it’s other things that really cause me to swell.

Tom works five days a week, Friday is the day he spends with his father. They go out to breakfast, then the movies, Dr. appointments, shopping or whatever Tom’s dad needs or wants to do. Tom ends up with just Saturday off. Tom loves his father but he is a handful and the time Tom spends with him is work. Alfred drives a Saturn sports coup that he can’t get in and out of without help. He will not get a new one. He is quite possibly the most difficult person I have ever met, but he is a total sweetheart at the same time.

When Tom came out, his dad called him Fagot and treated him really, really badly. He never has said a word of apology to Tom about this and I think Tom still feels hurt by this lack of apology. Alfred will never apologize verbally. He has his own way of saying sorry. The family each buys Christmas presents for only one other family member (drawn from a hat), Alfred has never drawn my name but has bought me the most amazing gifts every year anyway. This year I got the coolest Kangol hat that I am wearing right now! His apology to Tom is his complete acceptance of me.

Tom has been taking care of his dad and spending each Friday with him since before Tom an I met 5 years ago. Can you imagine only having one day off a week for over five years? Lately thing have been getting harder because Alfred’s health has been declining. He is now on so much medication that when he recently had shingles he thought it was just a rash. They didn’t hurt because all the pain medications he is taking. Tom is having to do more and more because Al just isn’t up to it anymore. Tom has reached a point where he has to ask for help from his brother and sisters. They all live within 2 hours of San Francisco and rarely come visit Alfred, but they are quick to call if they need money help. It really upsets Tom, and at my urging is writing them a letter, demanding they come visit at least once month. Who knows how much longer Al is going to be around? Will his kids regret that they spent so little time with him? Will the burden on Tom cause strain between him and the rest of the family? These issues need to be addressed. So Tom began to write his little heart out.

This is how Tom ends his letter:
Sooner or later the time comes when we must all become responsible adults and learn to give up what we want , so we can chose to do what is right. Of course a lifetime of responsibility isn't always easy. And as the years go on, It’s a burden that can become too heavy for some to bare. But still we try to do what is best . What is good not only for ourselves, but for those we love.

Does this paragraph sound familiar to anyone? It’s the ending monologue from this weeks’ Desperate Housewives. God I love him.

Price Of Love - Client - Robopop Volume 1

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
ewe_2
Jan. 27th, 2005 09:56 pm (UTC)
He sounds fantastic.
Allan and I went through the same thing you and Tom are going through when my mom got ill with pancreatic cancer. We were there every spare minute we had so we could to help her. My oldest brother lived in CA at the time. It was hard for him to travel East and visit often. My one sister lived a few hours and visited our mom frequently. But the sibling who lived near by never visited. One brother lived 4 miles from her. Never went Allan and I have never regreted doing what we did to help her and never felt the others had to change as we knew they would have to come to terms with themselves. And boy have they had a hard time.

It has been years. She died in 1987. And if they get a few drinks in them it all come crying out. Personally I am sick of hearing them whine.
So join Tom when you can. He would probably enjoy that. As I'm sure his dad would also.

:-)
D
shamandl
Jan. 27th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
Amazing duo
I don't watch much TV but, you know, whatever it takes. I admire Tom for stepping up. The stress of caregiving should be shared. Too bad he has had to ask for help from the family. I know what that's like.
artkouros
Jan. 27th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
I totally feel Tom. I spent every Sunday afternoon for years with my Dad, until this recent move to Houston. Now I can only make it once a month, but I've started to make it a whole weekend instead of just a few hours. Luckily, my stepmom is there and is great, and she has a daughter, who's the attentive one on her side of the family to fill in for me.

I guess the only thing worse than having a parent to take care of is not having one.
sisyphus238
Jan. 28th, 2005 03:22 am (UTC)
Tom is a trooper. My family has a similar/dissimilar situation. I have 2 older brothers and a younger sister. My sister lives about an hour away from my folks who are still healthy in spite of their (94(dad) and 86(mom)) ages. One of my brothers is out here on the west coast and the oldest lives in Connecticut and makes frquent visits to the folks. Obviously most of the filial piety falls on my sister and she is great. My oldest brother does good too. It's the 2 middle brothers who aren't near enough to handle emergencies but we are blessed with a lack of rancor in the family so no one pushes any guilt trips on us. Actually I do a good enough job of that on my own so it would be unnecessary even if a guilt trip were forthcoming.

You're a lucky man and even luckier for realizing it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )