Happy 84th Bday Dad

What a tough one, to call or not to call??  My dad has been a looming mental breakdown by me waiting to happen, always ahead of his time in the homeless department.  What that means is that my whole adult life is staying a step ahead of him to keep him safe, protect my kids and frankly, protect myself from a NBD.  When I drive through Berkeley I’m reminded that if he were younger, I wouldn’t be able to get him any services and would be waving to him in his tent as I drove by.

I guess I have a different view on the homeless because of it, from a family member perspective.  He would be very content to live in a tent on the side of the road, as long as he could drink.  Bathroom?  No problem.

My parents have been divorced since I was 17, when my dad was still very handsome enough to live from woman to woman until they figured out his game.  Even then, he’d stay.  My maternal grandparents bailed my mom out, bought out half of the house (that went to his debt, he didn’t get a dime).  My mom was able to stay in the house and somehow escape alimony or half her retirement.  My dad represented himself thinking he was smarter than any attorney, screwed himself.

That all seemed great at the time, as I got older it was clear he was not going to work or stop drinking.  Out of nowhere, he moved to NorCal when my youngest was a baby  – just called me up one morning and said, “I’m coming up!”  I was having a baby shower for a friend that day, by the end of the shower the u-haul was pulled up ready to empty in my garage.  His buddies dumped him on me with no notice.

This is a really long story, don’t have enough time this morning to write about it.  Today he’s in a nursing home in Arizona and has been trying to escape but he can’t walk.  He was in an apartment there through the VA with a fiduciary since I waved all rights.  When he went into the hospital, where he should have been the past 20 years, he was evicted from a disgusting, hazmat apartment.  When he lived in a trailer behind a bar in Alameda his buddies there pitched in on,  he got in 3 car accidents in one day (not stopping at one) a cop called me to say he can’t sleep at night thinking my dad was staying in that trailer…  It was full of vodka bottles and poop.  I said, “Let me help you sleep a little better.”  Really??  I should take my poor old dad in???

Since then it’s been working with the VA to keep him safe, then he made an escape to Arizona where my mom’s from.  I’d like to say he was in Vietnam with PTSD or something – no, he was in Alaska.

The problem with getting him the help he REALLY needs is he can walk out, voiding everything.  I tried to get him in a country club VA hospital in Napa but he didn’t want a roommate.  I envisioned picking him up for holidays, my friend works at the golf course in front of the VA there.  He wouldn’t sign the papers, so he went on his own journey with me puppeteering the whole way.

Even the home he’s in now he’s threatened them to walk out to get a cab to show up on my brother’s front door 400 miles away.  He’s mad at me for wanting him to have clean sheets and a bathroom, oh and food.  He’d rather live in filth with his drink, that’s always been his choice.

I really can’t believe he’s still alive??  He can’t walk out due to malnutrition from years ago, he hasn’t been able to walk forever.  Obviously he’s mentally ill and has been self medicating  this whole time.  My choices have always been to not go down with the ship, there’s nothing I can do but keep him safe.  I have a lot of guilt over this too, he’s my dad. In that regard I have something in common with Meghan Markle, can totally relate on that level – wish I could say it gets better?

When I was 17, working my ass off at a restaurant, my dad would come in for his free meal, my tips, and a glass of wine then go sleep in his car in the parking lot.  At that time I thought it couldn’t possibly get worse than that??  Boy was I wrong!!

I’ll say this…I’m a frigg’in miracle!!

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