Amenhotep, King of De Nial



My father is dying. I know, we’re all dying by inches, but my father has a timeline. Weeks, if he’s lucky months. Lucky would be the other way around, trust me. The man has been busy dying since my mother passed away in 2005. I’m just hoping it happens as quickly and painlessly as possible.

You would think if you were told that your number is coming up really soon, that a person might have a bit of a meltdown, perhaps a big meltdown, but after that it’s time to see to practical matters, get one’s affairs in order and when that’s done, raise a little hell.

Not my father.

My father should be called Amenhotep because he is truly the king of De Nial. As with any other occasion or situation in his life which has proven difficult to handle, unpleasant to him, or a bit of a hassle, he choses to ignore it and believes this will make whatever it is go away. He lets other people deal with the mess, because the world revolves around him and we are there to serve.

My younger brother, aka The Prince of Darkness, has had power of attorney since 2007 when the pharaoh was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He’s also executor of our father’s estate. This is unfortunate. The Prince of Darkness is a wonderful guy but his organizational skills are nil, he cannot use a computer, he has difficulty dealing with bureaucrats (who doesn’t), and he isn’t really clear about what having poa or being executor of an estate means. I do. I understand all this and what needs to be done. I even understand why Amenhotep “arranged” things this way. It is another one of his power games. I think his biggest regret might be the fact that he’s going to miss any unpleasantness he’s worked so hard to orchestrate between my brother and me when he’s gone. He’d be disappointed; the Prince of Darkness and I stopped doing sibling drama about 20 years ago.

I was disinherited since before 2000. It’s happened on and off all my life and is one of my father’s favorite power games. It is not a big deal. We’re well off. I don’t need or want any inheritance and wish my brother all the best. My father named him as executor to slap me for saying I wasn’t interested in his money. He was fully aware that I would not let my brother struggle with this burden alone, eventually step in and do all the actual work that goes along with executing an estate. I told the Prince of Darkness that I’d help but I want expenses and the executor’s fee being that I’ll have to travel to the US, stay there a while and I’m not getting anything else out of it. The Prince of Darkness is cool with that.

The financial doodah, however, is not the worst part. The worst part is that Amenhotep refuses to make plans for hospice or palliative care. He will not discuss health issues. He will not discuss plans for his funeral. He talks about his “illness” with friends and family as though he’s going to get better. His illness is end stage leukemia. The man was offered aggressive chemo, which would probably kill him before it cured him, and (understandably) refused. Bone marrow transplants are not an option. It should be patently obvious to him that this is the end of the line, but he refuses to deal with reality. He thinks that if he does not plan he will not die.

But he is going to die and the few things within his locus of control, getting his affairs in order and making his wishes known regarding end of life care and his funeral are out of his line of vision. True to form, he is going to make this the most dreadful, painful and inconvenient process none of us who have to deal with him care to imagine at the moment.


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