I’m ready to go to the woods!!

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Henry David Thoreau

(Photograph: Julie on the Pacific Rim Trail / Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada / 2011)

During the course of my lifetime, I have always thought that perhaps Thoreau “got it” and the rest of us didn’t. He really understood what the rest of us had/have yet to fully grasp. And that thought hits me usually during two very different types of situations.

One being when I, myself, am out on an adventure in and with nature. You’ve read my many posts regaling the wonders and joys of being in the heart of the wilds and of how that serves my soul. I’ve often perched on a mountain top or ocean shore lamenting that I eventually have to leave and go back to “my world.”

The other time is like today—when I’m trying to make sense of my dad’s world that he has managed to totally screw up in just a couple of weeks. When I see the chaos of the unpaid bills, the overdue this and thats, the figuring out if there is a water leak to explain the exorbitant jump in the bill, the phone calls to the cable company, the power company, the credit card company, the investment firm…all the while as he is fussing at me and berating me like he’s never done before, not even when I was a teenager…that I am to leave him alone, to get out of his hair, just get in my car and drive back home, to quit harassing him……

He actually yelled, if that’s what you want to call what a feeble warblely 85 year old voice does when raised. All because I matter of factly told him we needed to go back to the office (remember, my old bedroom) and get to work. Thousands of dollars later, a myriad of phone calls, my step mother threatening to just leave….an hour spent shredding, destroying old check books that I thought I’d gotten rid of once, which have oddly resurfaced only to add more confusion to his already oh so confused mind….that was the day in a nutshell.

Put him in a home you say. Move him to be with you. Get someone in there on a daily basis. Oh believe you me, I’ve played every one of those songs, over and over. He refuses to budge. And she refuses to have help come in… and yet…she is unhappy, he is unhappy. He wants to simply be a turtle who pulls his head in, shutting out the world and everything that goes with it. She wants someone to talk to and do things with on a daily basis…but she physically hurts, and he mentally hurts…..

So yes, the thought of running away to the woods after this lovely day sounds pretty darn nice. But it also means less clutter which is what our lives are so full of—I see that in the microcosm of my dad’s world. His antiquated computer that is so slow that it makes honey being poured from a nearly empty jar look lightning fast.
“Dad you need a new computer”
“Dad, it’s infected and oh so terribly slow, it should not take over and hour to “boot up”…

At that point I probably should have started crying but I was determined to get him, me, we… to “take care of business”— the business he keeps saying he’s going to take care of in the morning—and that morning just never seems to come…..the business, for whatever reason, he refuses for me to simply help with, or, as I’ve volunteered, just to take over for him—no hassles, no worries…but that is a big NO—and why that is, I have not yet understood.

The man there today was/ is not my dad, not my son’s “Pop”…and I think my step mom is discovering, not her husband. I go almost weekly. My step mom’s daughter-n-law set up some automatic payments…he’s managed to screw automated up..who does that? And yet, he is firm, he will not leave that house and does not want my help. To sit daily in a chair, looking at some old black and white movie or cartoon, a little food here and there, a few sweets and that’s all that’s needed to make his world complete.

He may not have to leave the house quite yet, but he will have my help, as he greatly needs it– even though he doesn’t “get that”….It’s hard and it’s sad….but he’s my dad…there is no choice but to roll up my sleeves even if that means I cry on the long highway ride home.

Yes it sucks as my students would have to say. And no, I don’t have any answers. Just the ugly side of living with a parent who is slowly disappearing and yet oddly or thankfully a small part refusing to follow suit…as in the insistence that it is his business and his business only, he doesn’t want or need any help. Of course you don’t dad, that’s why you slipped a check in the envelope to the cable company for $200 when the bill is only $24.17—the thought process there is “if I overpay, they’ll leave me alone, they’ll all just leave me alone…”

Yep, the woods sound pretty darn nice.

10 comments on “I’m ready to go to the woods!!

  1. Jenna Dee says:

    I feel your pain and frustration but I equally understand your love for your dad. I too am in a similar situation and I understand your need to find peace in the woods. Love Jenna

    • It certainly is a mess and a roller coaster–one day is good, one day… not so good…yesterday not so good—but just talking with him on the phone, you’d never know anything ever happened–stay tuned is all I can say…thank you for the understanding and support Jenna—hugs to you, Julie

  2. Lynda says:

    I have never had to look after my parents as they died at a relatively young age when I was in my early 30s; however, I had a tiny glimpse of what my mother would have been like had she lived longer for one day she had that vacant look for just a second and I was so taken aback and worried for her. Blessings and prayers for you continue to serve your father while searching for the best solution.

  3. Cookie, what if you let things just unfold as they would? Instead of causing yourself all that angst and overload, surrender and let them manage their affairs. My guess is, they eventually (and I bet it wouldn’t take long) would wake up to the realization they need help. And then they would ask you for it and be willing to accept it.
    Are any social service agencies involved to assist?
    Blessings, Joanne

    • Hi Joanne- thank you for the good thoughts– I probably wouldn’t go as often as I do but my step mom gets all up in arms. I’ve suggested home healthcare but she nixes any outside assistance – I have to always ask what she wants me to do and it’s to get his affairs in order and de-cutter his end of things– great šŸ™‚
      She wants them to move to assisted living- he says no– it’s just a most interesting affair šŸ™‚ thank you for your support and prayers

      • I admire you for doing all this. I’m sure it is not easy. Similar issues are happening to cousins of mine and their mother and father recently moved to assisted living. Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. Best wishes. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  4. Val says:

    Recommended by my friend who runs a support group for wonen with aging parents, written by a very sweet nurse who happens to be the wife of my former boss; she has two parents like your dad:


    Bless you friend, hope this week was better.

    • Amanda says:

      Great blog…thanks for sharing this


      • Val says:

        You’re welcome, happy you found it helpful. I actually know her personally, and one of the things I found cool was that she writes it from the perspective of a nurse. I’ve worked as a hospice volunteer myself, there is no real way to prepare for what dementia can throw at you.

    • Thank you Val–a great source of information, comfort, humor—and the old adage rings true—misery loves company…Hoping/ praying for resolutions your way soon–love, Julie

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