I keep hitting the escape key, but I’m still here…

I bought a t-shirt at Malice Domestic with that on it. Some days, truer words have never been emblazoned across a person’s chest.

My dad resides in a nursing facility. A very nice nursing facility. He’s been there for almost a year in a slow downhill slide into the dark hole of dementia exacerbated by the effects of a couple of small strokes. Yesterday was a particularly bad day. He was determined that he was coming home with us. On those days, he doesn’t realize that he can’t walk and can barely sit up for more than an hour or two at a time. In his cloudy mind, he’s fine and he just wants out. Most days, all he wants is to get back into bed and go to sleep.

I don’t wear that t-shirt when I go to visit Dad. Truth can be cruel.

Returning home after a couple of hours spent with Dad, I turn on my computer, make a cup of French Vanilla Cappuccino and break out the chocolate truffles before escaping into my email. After I’ve caught up and pumped up with caffeine and chocolate, I get to work on my writing, which is my real escape.

Last year, while Dad was still at home and Mom and I were trying to do all we could to keep him there, my stress levels were off the charts. My yoga practice helped, but it was working on my novel that kept me sane. With a couple of clicks, I was no longer trapped in my life. Instead, I escaped to Riverview Park, my fictitious Thoroughbred racetrack and into the head and life of Dr. Jessie Cameron, track veterinarian and amateur sleuth supreme. Before that, I was working on the manuscript that now resides in a drawer in the spare room. That story was set in Las Vegas. After a rough day dealing with reality, I would announce that I was going to Vegas. Everyone around know what that meant: I’m going to write. Don’t bother me.

Readers read to escape into other worlds and different lives. Writer’s write for the same reason.

Why doesn’t that darned Escape key do anything?


Kristine said…
Sometimes I also wish I could hit that escape button and well, escape. My thoughts and prayers are with you in dealing with your dad. I can't imagine how difficult it must be.

Hang in there. Writing is the best form of therapy.
Linda Shantz said…
I'd like one of those t-shirts too. I went through something similar with my grandmother a number of years ago now, and it must be even tougher with a parent.

Congratulations on finding an agent for your novel!

(Fellow TB racers list member)
Anonymous said…
My mother spent the last five years of her life in a long term care facility, so I understand. It's not easy. I'm glad your writing provides some escape. As you know from my comments in the critique group, I think the writing is very well done. Keep us posted.

Best regards,

David W
Annette said…
Thanks, guys, for all your support and good wishes.

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