Monthly Archives: September 2016

When Did It Start?

I keep raking through my memories to try and pinpoint when dad started his downhill mental slide. I guess the first big clue was when he tried to sell one of his two homes to someone whose name he couldn’t remember and for an amount he couldn’t remember. I drove home to Iowa, two-and-a-half-year-old son strapped in the backseat, to fix that one.  Disaster.

Angry with me before I even got there, he wouldn’t even talk to me about any issues that were popping up: his memory problems reported by everyone around him, his poor health, his filthy home, his unpaid stack of bills.  Looking back, those were the big-fat-as-hell red-flipping signs that SOMETHING was very off.  I figured he was being his worse-than-usual-alcoholic self.  I was partly right.

Then last year I got the call he’d pooped himself. That he wasn’t showering. That he wasn’t changing clothes.  Lucky him (and me, since I live in Montana and he’s in Iowa) the small town community rallied around and helped him. Friends cleaned his house, took him to the doctor, stocked his fridge and got him on an airplane to come see me. It probably should have been a one-way ticket last year. Maybe then he wouldn’t have half-froze to death in his house during a snowstorm for not having paid his propane bill.

And now he’s here. And I am working on his finances. He can’t believe he owes the propane man almost $1000. He can’t believe he hasn’t paid property taxes in almost two years and that he’s possibly going to lose his home to a tax sale. I can’t believe any of it either. But here we are. Both of us losing something.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Uncategorized



“You have dementia,” said the doctor, to my father. He took the news as if he was just told, “You have a hangnail.” We drove past the sparkling lake on the way to the grocery store and I told him how it must suck to have heard that diagnosis.  He sat silently staring out the window at the boats on the sunbathed water.

My suspicions finally confirmed, my mind spun in all directions like wind-whipped dandelion seeds. Need to get him into the Veteran’s Home. Need to get him to want to go to the Veteran’s Home.  Need to do something with his property -four states away.  Need to get to the grocery store, pick up the boy from his Nonna’s and go home to make dinner.

Dementia. Explains Groundhog Day. Still feels shitty.  The anger I’d felt toward my dad for his mean words over the years, for his perpetual adolescence,  for his mistreatment of all the women in his life, for his shadowy presence in my life started to seep into the background of my heart and mind. (Thank you, meditation.)

Expectations for things ever being different dissipated like midnight campfire smoke drifting up to meet the stars.  And all the anxiety I’d held onto over him coming to be here with me, my husband and my son relaxed into a gentle, solid compassion…and a grief that hit me up-side the head like the proverbial two-by-four.

So I cry.  A lot. Sometimes just a little.  And the tears help wash the dust away so I can see slightly clearer for the next task…

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: