This time of year is kind of hard for my dad and my stepmother. Thursday was the anniversary of my stepbrother's death. Friday was their wedding anniversary. As a result, my dad usually tries to make sure that they are out of town for their anniversary.
This year my father had planned a week in Solvang but then he started to think that it was a little too far away given my stepmother's health. So instead, he made plans for a weekend in the Carmel area.
I talked to him Saturday morning when he returned my call. (I had left a message on Friday wishing them a happy anniversary.) They had had a lovely dinner and my stepmother's spirits were good. There were just a few problems. The first was that he had almost turned around on the road because he thought that my stepmother was having a stroke. But then everything seemed OK so he continued on. By the time I spoke to him on Saturday, she had fallen a few times. Her speech also seemed a little off. I got off the phone and started to cry. Just a little because I was driving at the time. And I tried to call a few people but no one was available. It is a holiday weekend after all. And so I sucked it up like I have gotten used to.
Then my dad called Sunday evening. He ended up calling the doctor because my stepmother kept falling. They had a room ready for her at the hospital by the time they returned to Sacramento. My dad asked if the doctors thought it was a stroke. The doctors think that it is the cancer in her brain -- either the existing tumors have grown or there are new tumors. They did an MRI and x-rays. I believe that my dad said that they would have results today.
It doesn't matter. I'm heading up for the day. My dad is losing it. He couldn't even remember Sunday night if he had already spoken to me during the day. This morning I realized that this is what has probably been the most upsetting to me -- the thought that through this process that I could end up losing my dad as well. He is diabetic and has had a heart attack in the past. He is also not necessarily known for taking care of himself, especially during times of stress. I was relieved to learn last night that he had called his best friend, my "real dad," though. (I found this out when I talked to "mom" last night.) He's definitely going to need other people to make it through this.
And hopefully I'll have all the tears out by the time I get there because if I can't hold it together, then I may as well have stayed at home. But I'm a little more hopeful about that since I had the chance to talk to my aunt in Savannah this morning. She's the only one of my relatives whom I can call sobbing and not have to hear, "You have to stop crying because you need to be strong right now." Instead she lets me cry it out and by the time we hang up, I'm usually smiling once more. And I'm going to call my "real parents" since they said that they might be heading up today because I'd rather not do the drive alone. Besides I need a little more time before trying to head out from here since I just realized that I still have some tears left.