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The Bob Goen Interview (Page 2 of 3)

An Interview with Bob Goen

GB:  I call those “loving lies.”

BG:  They were; and it was either we lie to Dad or we watch our mom slowly die. We were already watching Dad slowly die, and it was a lie that had to be told. We said to Dad that Mom was going off on a cruise for a couple weeks and that I would be out of town; Barbara and Judy, my two sisters, were going to have trouble getting away from work to watch him, so we just wanted to put him in there until Mom gets back. He begrudgingly agreed, and so we went down there. I was the one in the family who was able to hold it together long enough  to get him settled in his new room, to talk to him, to soothe him and to comfort him. He kept trying to leave and I don’t where the strength came from because I usually do not have it, but I was able to sit with him for a couple of hours and convince him that this was the right thing to do. One-by-one, everyone else in the family left and went out into the waiting room because they couldn’t do it anymore; they were emotionally drained. One of the most memorable moments, in a real negative way, was when I left him in his room and I walked into the waiting room. My family was all sitting there and it was a very powerful moment when the four of us just held on to each other. I remember my sister saying, “My God, when you turned the corner into that room, your face was a color I had never seen before.” We just clung to each other.

GB: Did your family feel guilt about your decision to place your father in the facility?

BG:  There was guilt from me. I had a lot of trouble with it. There’s a lot of guilt in doing something like this. You feel guilty for putting him in there, you feel guilty about not telling him you loved him before, when he could truly understand it, you feel guilty about not being there enough, you feel guilty that you’ve abandoned him, you feel guilty that somebody else is taking care of your parent. That’s very guilt inducing, and you have to come to terms with that and it was hard. I struggled with it for many years, while he was alive, and even after his death; but I think that I’ve come to a comfortable place with it now.

GB:  Was your mom able to start taking care of herself after your dad left home?

BG:  Yeah. That was the best part because she was able to focus on herself. She could now do the littlest things, like go to lunch, or work in the garden, talk on the phone. The slightest, nothing little pieces of the day became a huge joy to her. Eventually, she was able to go away on vacation, go to church, and do all the little things people take for granted.

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