So here's the thing. My dad just got diagnosed with ALS-- Lou Gehrig's Disease, That Thing That Stephen Hawking Has, you know the drill-- and I have a moral dilemma.
posted by dogheart to Human Relations (30 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've been living with my parents for about a year. My mom has rheumatoid arthritis, and has had it for about twenty eight years. I moved in because of a breakup, where the dude I had been with for my entire adult life got the apartment, the dog, the everything. Pretty soon after I moved back in as the original boomerang kid, it became apparent that my mom wasn't precisely able to really function on her own. She'd survive without me, but basically? If I don't cook, she'll live on bags of kettle corn. Dad works nights, has four days off every two weeks, makes sure she eats when he's home. She can still drive, which she loves and which she's scary good at, so that's pretty great.
Here's where it gets hard.
My best friend and I have planned on moving to Chicago for, oh, two years now. The plan was to go after the first of the year, when we'd have probably 10k between us. This is probably my last shot at happiness, because I am miserable here, and Chicago is, well, the place I have always wanted to be. I also owe this woman my life, I think, a few times over. I sincerely do not want to leave her in the lurch.
Also-- ugh, I'm sorry, I said 'dad' up there, and he is, but. My biological father, whom I loved, died of an inoperable brain tumor when I was fifteen, in 2001. (I am old for how pathetic my life is, I know.) I didn't really deal with that well, and carry a massive amount of (admittedly irrational) guilt over how I handled it. Or rather, didn't handle it. I let him down, failed my gunslinger test, whatever. In an intensely fucked-up way, I feel almost like this thing with my (step)dad is a chance to do it over and get it right this time.
They're going to need in-home care, my parents. Sooner, rather than later. They do not have the money for it. Dad wants me to go to Chicago, insists that he and Mom will get by, not to leap on this particular grenade. Like, the only thing I think would be worse for him than dying in this stupid, cruel, dignity-robbing way would be for me to burn my potential future to take care of them. But there's nobody else. My mom can barely take care of herself. How will she manage herself and my dad when she's already pretty much crippled?
I'm really frightened. This diagnosis came down Monday, and I know it's still early days. Am I overreacting? Making a crisis where one doesn't exist? Do I stay, fuck over my best friend, and hurt my dad to make sure that my parents are okay? Or do I abandon them to sickness and coping with their bodies slowly shutting down? If I don't do the right thing it's going to eat at me until I'm dead. I just don't know what the right thing is.