Railing Against Reality

14 September 2014

I find my anger rage triggered today. I feel enraged. Cheated. Disenfranchised. Marginalized. By Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). By my mother and her older brother, who now controls my parents’ existence like Cerberus, the multi-headed hellhound who, in Greek mythology, guards the entrance of the underworld to prevent the dead from escaping and the living from entering. 
Yes, I feel prevented from entering my own parent’s existence. I find myself railing against the reality that dad is slipping away from me, and has been for some years now. I find myself outraged at those who’s final solution to the problem of dad is to exile him to some vile nursing home somewhere, like societies exile their lepers. 
 Dad is not a social inferior or leper! I have this devastating image of a cattle car, with my dad inside of it; he’s in there, in the dark, with no one or nothing and only a tiny little space, the size of a square of cheese that has bars over it, to look through; he’s clamouring to be let out; everyone can hear him; he’s frightened and hurt and alone; no one comforts him; instead, they sneer, sigh in impatience and speak abruptly to him when he lingers in the telling of his own stories. I find myself hurt, deeply, deeply hurt that my dad has become an outcast in the eyes and minds and hearts of those he devoted his life to looking after. 
from L-R: Aji, Ajoba, Atya*
I find myself alienated from myself, and from my dad because he lost his identity by submerging himself in mum’s life and baggage and that of her family. I find myself alienated and struggling to find my own identity because my mum never afforded me the opportunity to taste and feel and see and know my dad’s identity, that originating identity, one I can now only glimpse in black and white photographs of those who are long dead, those whom I never met ~ dad’s own parents and his elder sister ~ and a landscape in which the wind whips through the coconut trees, the ground looks dry and has an almost barren texture to it and the houses are on stilts. I want to know that world, that private universe that now only exists in dad’s memory, a memory that’s now begun to whither and fade. 

I feel such raging sadness at this loss, this giant, gaping loss which no one can see or feel or taste or touch or know but me.

* Aji is grandmother in Marathi; Ajoba is grandfather in Marathi; Atya is paternal aunt in Marathi.


Heidi Willis said...

Goodness, this is powerful, Roxanne! What a great piece of writing! You say angry, but it is beautifully controlled.
It's so sad to lose not only our parents, but all the life they held that no one else can know.

X. Dell said...

That's a pretty candid assessment of losing someone to Alzheimer's. There are so many degrees of loss, frustrated (it seems) by punctuated improvements that only make the further deterioration harder to take.

I don't envy you. Moreover, I think you're entitled to your rage.


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