My dad has cancer.
He is going through chemotherapy.
It’s taking a toll on his body and naturally his psyche.
His prognosis is fine.
He is a pain in the ass, please stop asking about him
Everybody has been asking about my father, some out of politeness and others with a little more concern. How shall I answer?
He is still a narcissistic nuisance and every visit with him feels like an obligation.
I know I am lucky to have a father, and one who loves me unconditionally. I wonder how I would feel if he passed away tomorrow. After feeling sad and like an orphan, I’d be at peace with our relationship. Not satisfied with how it all played out, but content that I behaved ethically.
The nucleus of my family has evolved to my husband and kids and not my father. So his disapproving remarks, or snide comments (He’ll answer the question How are you? with “Waiting for you.”) are no longer going to motivate me to seek his approval. I still love him and will attend to his legitimate needs but I am not going to alter my schedule to satisfy his whims and narcissistic desires.
I don’t indulge my dad’s descriptions of his procedures, most of which involve waiting for the doctors. I know it’s not fair to expect my father to behave in the same brave and somewhat nonchalant way my mother handled her more severe and dire cancer.
So when people ask me how my father is, I just don’t know what to say. I’m sure he’d love me to recite his lengthy responses he offers to the same question but I am not his puppet. And I cannot believe it took me this many years to say this.