The last few months have felt like one long series of tests.
First was the care of my father who had decided it was time for hospice. He was often frustrated, feeling like medical professionals were making decisions and pronouncements about his needs without including him. The test? Would I take control or would I be his advocate for managing his own care?
There was no hospice bed available for him when the hospital was ready to discharge him. This meant I was going to be his 24/7 caregiver. Another test. What sort of caregiver would I be? How would I negotiate the more personal of his care needs? What would things be like when "the end" finally came?
Dad was unhappy at times. He called the move home from the hospital "the snatch and grab." He was sassy with the hospice case manager the first day about my qualifications (or lack thereof) for providing his care. If he thought I was pestering him with too many questions, he got a nasty look on his face and snapped at me. One evening, he poked me, accusing me of "pushing" pills at him. The test: How would I deal with his anger, frustration or hatefulness when I was already emotionally fragile?
Once he was gone, the tests piled up.
Notifying the family.
Making decisions about the funeral.
Dealing with my emotions and those of the people around me.
I wanted to be the "strong one," but how long could I keep that up without collapse or resentment?
As the weeks have gone on, I have felt more and more like these tests now come with an audience. In my head, Mom and Dad are watching, judging.
Did I give in too quickly on the sale of the bed? Should I have insisted on a higher price?
Is Mom cringing at the amounts I'm taking for her Precious Moments?
Did I throw away things they would have wanted me to keep?
If I sell this, will I regret it later?
Am I making the right choices about the house?
Honestly, I know my parents have better things to do in Heaven than pass judgement on my efforts over the last few months, but I feel that scrutiny nonetheless.