I’m looking at my father’s credit card bills, going back to February. Carmelo eats out, every meal. But $3,000 a month? Jeez dad!
That’s a lot of breakfast, lunch, dinner and gas. He’s at the gas station every 2 days? He can’t use that much gas. He doesn’t even drive. oh. fuck.
Carmelo is a very private, closed person. Sicilian. Everything is “on a need to know basis.” So no, I couldn’t see his doctor, his bank account or have a clean Power of Attorney.
This old-world secrecy is a legacy from the 1800s when Romans taxed Sicilians on how many tomato plants they grew in the yard. Hide the tomatoes. Don’t talk about the tomatoes. Shush.
Sicilians emigrated to the new world, and the Mafia terrorized family businesses in Harlem. My great grand-uncle was shot in his Lexington Avenue bakery for refusing to pay the mob. Carmelo inherited this survival skill, to keep his mouth shut.
Obviously, I am breaking with tradition.
Yes, I read all the articles, “how to have the conversation with your parents.” I not only read them, I edited writers who wrote these articles. Still. I think about what I should have done or could have done. If I had pushed for the dementia diagnosis earlier, that could have changed a lot of what we’re dealing with today. Maybe.
It’s crazy-making, all the what ifs, could-haves, should haves.