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.