Mom and Dad are due back from Greece tonight!!  I can’t even properly describe the elation, relief and anticipation I have in the matter! 

I feel as if I’ve been whirling around and slowly drowning inside an emotional vacuum since they broke the news and left.  I have such HOPE upon their return!  It’s like I can almost breathe again.  I feel like once I can actually see them with my very own eyes it’ll be like they are once again real and alive and by my side.  I’ve felt such dark aloneness in their absence.  I realize I’m losing Dad but I just experienced an earth-shattering view of what life would be like without them BOTH!  My god, I’ve been so lucky having them around – 37 years of their support and involvement in my life.  How blessed my life has been because of them, how enriched it’s become with them helping weave the fabric of my life.

So, I guess, I’m grappling with the thought of… what becomes of me once their gone???  They have always been such a rock for me, the base from which everything for me has sprouted and grown.  They are SUCH GOOD PEOPLE.  I loose my breath when I think that someday they’ll be gone.  Someday, I’ll be totally on my own. 

I mean, geez, I’m married so it’s not like I’m exactly all alone in my life.  But I derive such peace from just knowing they’re around, that I can call them up and involve them more deeply in my life at any moment.  They have taken SUCH good care of me, as a child, a ridiculous rebellious adolescent, as an unmarried adult, even now.  They always do whatever they can to ensure that I’m okay.  They are some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

So, tonight they’re back!  And I want to welcome them home with outstretched arms and a marching band in their honor!  Of course, I’ve settled for the largest bouquet of flowers I’ve ever bought (which I split the cost of with my brothers) – which I’ve secretly placed just inside their back door so it’s the first thing they’ll see when they walk in their house!  I just want them to know that I am SO GRATEFUL they’re home.  That we can resume where we left off.  That it’s not over.

I’m spinning out of control in a total panic!  I can’t stop crying.  I’m sobbing as I’m typing this.  I know I’m losing my dad, but with them dropping the “A” bomb on me and leaving town so fast and for so long, I now have this unsettling panic that I’ve lost them both!  I realize it doesn’t make any sense rationally.  But Mom and Dad are both out of touch to me – somewhere unreachable on the other side of the globe – and I just feel like they’re both never coming back. 

F***.  My entire world is crumbling!  I can’t explain what’s going on inside but I’m spiraling downward to somewhere I don’t want to go.  The entire world looks bleak.  It’s hard to breath.  I can barely get out of bed.  I cry all the time.  Even at work, I lay and cry on my desk.  I can hold it together for short periods of time, but then it all comes bubbling out, no matter where I am!  Jac has made me come over, she usually can cheer me up out of any mood, but at her house all I do is flop on her couch and cry harder.  I can’t get it together.  I know this isn’t rational.  But I can’t rationally pull myself out of these dark depths.

I tell myself I’m SO LUCKY to have had the life I have had: GREAT parents, a privileged upbringing, everything a child could long for… But then I crumble and am paralyzed with fear and emptiness that it’s all coming to an end.  Camelot is crumbling!!  THEN what do I have??  I’m tormented by some force I can’t even explain nor get my head around.  I am afraid and see myself sliding down a VERY DARK path…

I’m numb but feel that I should write something down so I remember this ominous day.

Mom and Dad leave in the morning for their long awaited 3-week vacation & cruise through Greece.  They called tonight to say bon voyage!  Or so I thought.  They called to say that they finally received a diagnosis today from Dad’s months of ongoing tests with the University of Michigan.  DAD HAS “EARLY-ONSET ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE”.

OMG.  I’m almost not even completely sure what this means – except that it’s bad.  Really bad.  Like, as bad as it could possibly be.

We’ve noticed some small – but very noticeable! – memory issues lately.  Like, when I was visiting recently, Mom and I were talking about something and five minutes later Dad interrupted us with, “I don’t know where I heard this, but someone told me recently that…”  It was what we had just TOLD HIM!  Mom and I just looked at each other blankly – and then tried to pick back up where we left off.

Problems have been arising apparently at work between Dad and Frank Jr. and the other employees for some time.  I think this is part of why Dad went back in for re-testing.  Five years ago they sent him home from testing with a very loose diagnosis that he may be developing some type of long-term dementia.  Before that, I think he was on some unproven supplements to help with memory and no mention of dementia was given.

SO, here we are.  Shit.  My parents are ascending on their long-dreamed vacation with THIS hanging over their heads??  I told Dad, “You know what, Dad, you should have a frickin’ drink already!  I think this vacation should be the time you say goodbye to healthy living and just really live it up!  Seriously, you need to have a drink.  Probably a few!”  He agreed that I might be right, that after ten years of not drinking and tending to his body in a non-fanatical way, “Look what good it’s done me.”  But he was pretty upbeat, at least in a “I’ve had a wonderful life and will take what God gives me” sort of way.  Admirable.  He’s quite a guy, my Daddy-O.

Me?  I’m pissed.  They’ve worked hard their whole life, they’re SO close to retirement, and THIS happens?  I’m scared.  I know things just changed, that somehow the end just began, but I still don’t really know what that means.  Maybe I’m just overwhelmed with a concept I just can’t yet grasp.  Maybe there’s a better word.  It’s so hard to say when I’m just this numb.