Friday, September 28, 2012

Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

I seem to be perpetually behind on listening to podcasts, even at sites where I contribute to the podcasts, so it wasn't until this morning that I started to listen to Patrick Hester's excellent interview with one of my favorite writers, Jay Lake.

And, then I shut it off as it seemed more important to actually be able to see the fricking road that I was driving on than crying from emotional reaction to this very brutally honest discussion.

Both my father and father-in-law died after very long and protracted illnesses. Both of these overlapped the other, with my father dying first, then around a year later, my father-in-law dying. Along that timeframe we had the birth of my daughter, 09/11, a loss of a job of fourteen plus years, unemployment for a year, part-time work for several years, full-time employment at a fraction of what I had previously made, sacking of over 50% of the people I work with, illness of my mother-in-law and associated events in trying to move her, and more.

My father did not die of cancer, but of conditions related to dementia and Parkinson's Disease. My father-in-law did die of cancer, he had cancer upon cancer upon cancer which lead to other problems which lead to long-term secondary illness which lead to dementia which lead to heart failure...

The cost—financial but also—often overlooked—personal to a family is tremendous. I drove thousands of miles to visit my parent's to try and help out. I drove hundreds of miles on errands for my in-laws, including trying to get my father-in-law to the doctor or to chemotherapy. The illnesses exhausted me (I can't imagine how it was for my mother or mother-in-law) and frayed relations with family members both in terms of my siblings and my siblings-in-law (the fact that only one sibling-in-law, and that by marriage to a brother-in-law bothered to call or send a card on my father's death irks me to this day; I can understand that they were dealing with their own problems with my father-in-law, etc., but somehow I managed being hip-deep in two parental illnesses to function, sigh).

I can't imagine what Jay is going through. Or his child. I pray that they both have the strength to carry on.

I'll eventually listen to the podcast, but right now, it is too much. As with anything vaguely related to 09/11, or certain stories written by David Drake and set in the Hammer's Slammers sequence, or even the pillory scene with Jack Aubrey in the Patrick O'Brian tales...this just hits too close to home, hits too much of an emotional chord.

Cancer sucks. Parkinson's sucks. Arthritis sucks. Illness sucks.

1 comment:

Patrick Hester said...


Sorry this hit you so hard. I had no plans to go there with Jay, but we ended up there because he is so open about it all.

You know mom went through lung cancer a couple years back, so all of those feelings are still raw for me as well. Talking with Jay brought it all up again, then later in the weekend, I spoke to another author who is having some cancer fun with someone in their family and and and... blargh.