Parental Concerns

I read a story today that actually made me weep.

A 78-year-old man in a Chicago suburb was convicted this week of murdering his wife. He shot her, point blank, in the back of the head while she was watching television. They had just had a quarrel of some sort.
The man is diabetic and also has emphysema.

There wasn’t a lot of backstory to the case. But the article did mention that man was “scowling” in his wheelchair while the verdict was being read. 25 years in prison, with no chance of parole.

I wept when I read this story because I immediately thought of my own parents. Dad, with diabetes, is in constant misery and makes no bones about being in such misery. Consequently, everything that goes wrong (in his eyes) is my Mom’s fault. Even when it isn’t– and even when nothing is really so wrong to begin with.

Mom has emphysema. She is in misery as well, but at least her mood is overall upbeat and her outlook is relatively positive.

I worry about them. I worry because my Dad is becoming increasingly volatile as he gets older, and as this disease takes hold of what is left of his life. I worry because he is vicious to my Mom and to others as well. Cruel. He never does anything physically to hurt her (because, quite frankly, he’s too weak to do anything); but he hurts with words.

I wept when I read this story because I thank God that there is not a gun in my parents’ house. I shudder to think what he could– or would– do if the disease wrecked his brain any further.

And I wept that I even thought of this to begin with. To consider that either of my parents could even think of doing anything so irrational makes me wonder what is wrong with this whole picture.

My dad needs help, and we all– my mom, my sister, me, and our extended family– know it. He is going into the hospital soon for have an MRI done on his brain. They are looking for signs of dementia– especially Althzeimer’s. If they find anything, it could change the way we deal with him completely. And that is scary as well. But if that’s what has to happen, it has to happen.

I hate that this is happening to my dad. I love my dad, and I don’t want him to suffer. But I also want him to get the help he needs so that he can live the rest of his life peacefully. I also want my mom to live the rest of her life peacefully and without fear.

Maybe my fear is irrational in this case; but reading that article today and thinking about how things have been going so far– I just had to stop and wonder. What if?