I grew up in a dysfunctional family like probably many of you here. A mother who didn't have the self confidence to speak up for herself against a verbally abusive husband because of her own childhood. A father who suffered from untreated depression and out-of-control anxiety and agoraphobia and who vented his pain on his family. I do have fond memories from my childhood, but of course the bad and bitter ones tend to stand out the clearest and hang on the longest. And now my s.o.b. father is most likely dying and the choices he is making because of his mental illness are pushing him down that irreversible slope even faster. He's got congestive heart failure because that organ has had to work so hard for so many years with lungs that were not only scarred from either a trauma when he was young or asbestos exposure (no one really knows) but were also damaged by 40 years of heavy smoking, and obesity. He is NOT a lung transplant candidate because he is a cancer patient (in remission so far as we know). He refuses to consider a pleural stripping procedure that would give him SOME lung function relief. He's on oxygen 24/7. His edema in his legs is so bad the skin on his shins is oozing and bleeding. My mom had to use a wheelchair to get him from the car to the doctor's office yesterday to see the pulmonologist, and she could barely get his 300 pounds up the ramp (she weighs 125). He refuses to buy a wheelchair, let alone a scooter for home use because that would be admitting that he has a problem and that it's not going away. The doctor said he is doing even worse now than he was a month ago before he was hospitalized (just before Thanksgiving because of low potassium). He wants my dad to do a sleep study because he thinks his sleep apnea is contributing to his overall problems. My dad doesn't WANT to do that (he's AFRAID he'll lose his license when they discover how bad the apnea is -- well DUH, you can't drive the way you are NOW and you can't drive when you're DEAD -- plus he doesn't want to use the CPAP device he knows he'll have to use). My dad didn't like what he heard yesterday at the appointment and he decided that now he doesn't like THIS doctor (add another notch to the growing tally of doctors he doesn't "like"). He gets confrontational with doctors and wonders why some of them won't even see him anymore. He's freaking out. (Yeah, you SHOULD freak out, you IDIOT!) And because he's refusing to do what they tell him to do, he is likely hastening his demise. Part of me is so ANGRY with him for continuing to be such a stubborn, paranoid, abusive idiot that I just want him gone, and good riddance. And part of me realizes he is mentally and physically ill and afraid and suffering in the worst possible way. He has no faith in anyone -- mortal or otherwise. He must feel terribly, terribly alone. And I'm sad because his 67th birthday's in March and I have serious doubts he'll live to see it or his only son's wedding in May. I am grieving for the father I had, and the one I didn't have and never will have. For the grandfather he hasn't really been and never will be. I am grieving for my mother who so foolishly listened to people's advice when she wanted to take us kids and leave him so many years ago and didn't. I am feeling guilty for looking forward to my mother's new life without him, and sad that it took this long for her to be free from him. It really is just a matter of time. I hope for his sake and hers that it's over quickly. Thanks for listening -- I just needed to get that out.