Dad told my twenty-year old sister, and she told me, that a nurse is coming to the house to interview the family and determine whether Dad's medicaid application is fraudulent or not. Apparently, Dad said to Sister, "I told Mom she's getting worse, and a nurse is coming. She's sad about it."
Dad wins the prize for insensitive announcement of the year. As Sister told me about this conversation, I got angrier and angrier. He doesn't realize (or doesn't care) that she and I have to compensate for his rudeness and be extra kind and patient with Mom. It affects Brother #3, too, but Mom doesn't rely on him in quite the same way. He has the excuse of being a teenage boy, and escapes the house more easily.
Apparently, Mom left the hose running (overnight?) and Dad discovered it in the yard. He sighed really big, turned the hose off, and went into the house to talk to Mom about it. Mom came outside a little later to dump garbage. She was deflated, and said to Sister, "I got in trouble." She came to her daughter for refuge, or at least to vent. Sister had to be the compassionate parent. Apparently, Dad thinks that negative consequences will teach Mom. He's still in parenting mode.
Sister feels like Dad is asking her to betray Mom, and all the covering up she's been doing to make Mom comfortable is about to be ripped away. I've emailed Dad and asked for an explanation of this meeting with a nurse, and what the expectations are for the family's participation.
I haven't seen Dad grieve, or pamper Mom out of unbridled love, or even call on his kids for help. He's been very stoic about the whole thing for the last 2 and a half years, but cracks are beginning to show up (and have been evident for a while now) in his mask of self-sufficiency.
Stuff I wish I could say to Dad:
1) My heart BREAKS for you. This has to be hardest for you, losing your best friend, your teammate, your right arm. At the same time you have to increase your functioning and compassion and critical thinking in order to take care of the person you've lost.
2) STOP ACTING TOUGH. Your life is dissolving before your very eyes. You're not fooling anyone with this tough-guy routine. We are all in excruciating pain, but you are unapproachable because you're concentrating so hard on not being incompetant. We are ALL incompetant in this scenario. Let's fling our arms around each other and help each other stand and gasp for breath together and draw strength from each other. To me, that option makes more sense than trying to stand alone and be independantly strong.
3) No more family meetings. Lets do something fun together, lets re-forge an umbillical cord of compassion between us. Relationships with your sons are already shit. Instead of making things worse, lets try and use this common pain to bring us together. We miss Mom too. Don't withhold yourself now, when we need more parental love than ever (even if it's imperfect parenting). We all want things to go back to the way they were. We're all stuck in a rut as a result, which makes it that much worse.