Do you ever say to a someone taking care of a parent, spouse or friend "take care of yourself?" Yeah...people say this to me all the time lately as I've worked through this latest weeks-long health crisis with my dad.
Not a problem with me really. It's all about me. As I do what I think is right and proper for my dad I think constantly about what fun things I've cancelled. I wonder whether Forrest (and maybe someone enjoying a second ticket or seat at an event) are having a good time while I babysit my dad or attend to him at the doctor or hospital.
As I plan for my dad's future with him it is not in the back of my mind what will happen with me and whether I will be able to plan for my future for trips and commitments and the alleged joys of retirement. It is top of mind. Me then Dad. I'm sorry, but there it is. It doesn't mean I don't have his best interests at heart. But I'm the opposite of a martyr. Is their a word for that?
In the last two years FFP and I went on three trips I think. If you don't count one night in San Antonio and two nights at Lake Austin spa. Each of those longer trips had the attendant worry of some health problem with Dad and guilt over going away. It didn't end too badly in any case, but yeah I felt a little bad about and maybe resentment over the guilt.
Now the good thing about about my dad is that he doesn't want to be a burden and you can openly discuss your own frustration with him. My mom wasn't lucid at the end and you couldn't have had that discussion with her anyway. She was very different in that way.
When my Mom was in the hospital for the final 90+ days of her life, I spent a lot of time in her hospital room trying to keep her from removing IVs that were saving her life while she was hallucinating. I'd read newspapers and one night I was reading a travel section from "The New York Times" and dreaming of being able to travel, guilt-free. My mom said, suddenly, out of the blue, "I need to die or get better so you can travel." Yeah, I felt guilty for a few seconds and I knew she was hallucinating random stuff. Still I saw the wisdom.
So, when people say 'take care of yourself,' I'm thinking 'you bet I will.'