Monday, January 24, 2011

The Stove

I'd seen it a few times before. We used to go on summer camping trips, he'd cook breakfast on it. Mostly hash browns, breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs coated with the remains of the sausage. Toast made with the wire stand. But this time we weren't camping, we were in our kitchen. I wondered why it was on top of the gas stove that he usually cooked on. He made it sound like we were camping inside, like it was fun. At 10 years old, I didn't figure out that the gas bill hadn't been paid.

A few years later as a teenager I would become ashamed of things in my life. My clothes weren't the right brand, my car was a rusty beater, my parents weren't together. I would remember the camp stove in the kitchen and look down upon my father for not providing for us. I would wish for things to be like my best friend Jenny's family. Parents still together, dad brought home a lot of money, mom was home when she'd return from school. Back then, I wanted all of those things. I didn't have them. I lived with my dad, I saw my mom every Wednesday night and every other weekend. My dad wrestled with his own demons for the first few years after their divorce. I always thought I'd suffered because of that. I was always looking for the things I didn't get, the things I thought I needed as a girl.

I was sitting in the Southdale parking lot a few nights ago, it was dark, the car running, lights off, wipers brushing the snow back and forth. I'd just seen Black Swan by myself. I didn't want to let the babysitter go to waste. The movie triggered something in me as I began to drive home. I began to cry instantly, not the "I'm a little bit sad cry", rather the type of cry that comes from the pit of my stomach and just won't stop. I'd been holding in all the information about Dermot's condition for days, I told no one. I thought I was protecting everyone because the truth was to much to bear, I now know I was protecting myself.

As I continued to weep, I ran thru a list of close friends and relatives in my head. I needed to call someone, I needed to tell someone so that I wasn't alone with the information. I needed someone on the other end of the phone. I called my father. Like so many other times before, he answered. I told him everything, I told him how scared I was, I told him how much I needed him, I told him how much I loved Dermot. After 30 minutes of crying and conversation, I was better, less afraid. I had someone else who knew. That was a blessing.

After that phone call I kept thinking of that green metal camp stove in our kitchen. What it meant. We didn't have much money growing up, my dad did what he had to, to provide for me and my brother. It's only now as a mother that I can appreciate him for that. He may not have been able to keep us in the latest fashions and take us on fancy vacations. But, he gave me the ability to share my feelings, it was okay to cry, okay to be vulnerable. One thing is certain, he's always been on the other end of the phone when I've needed him and for that I am grateful.

Thanks Dad.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


We left Mayo clinic today. We will go back next week. Muscle biopsy will confirm. A mitochondrial disorder. Rare. Not surprised. Not happy. Not sad.

Not much left to say tonight.