Chapter 9

Al started spending more and more time at Grandmas. She lived on the same property as Mom and Dad did. In fact, the property was large enough that it held three houses and each house had a family member in it.

When Granddad passed away, Al was asked to go down and spend the nights with Grandma for a while to help ease her pain. He had no trouble with this request. He loved Grandma very much.

It didn’t take long before a routine developed. He would go to work each work day and then he would go home and shower and then head to her house and the two would eat supper together.

Suppers at our own house were never pleasant that I can remember. I can understand why Al went the other direction. At our house I could never put my finger on the problem. I know it really wasn’t us kids directly, but maybe it was and we didn’t realize it.

There was always tension, so thick you could cut it with a knife. If I wasn’t being forked in the elbow for bad manners, Dad was picking on Al for anything that came to his mind. I never remember Dad ever saying, good job Al, I know you did your best.

What I remember is, why can’t you ever do anything right? I tell you and tell you over and over. Do you have something wrong with your brain? Are you just plain stupid? I may as well have done it myself.

Through the years that I lived there when I was still growing up or even when I would drop over for a visit and end up eating a meal with them, this never changed. I used to say to myself, Well why don’t you just do it yourself then and leave him alone.

Mom would get all tense and nervous through these meals. Mom had a great outlook on life but Dad always ended up tearing it down. I don’t know if Dad meant to or even knew the stress he was causing.

I knew they had arguments behind bedroom doors. I hate to think that Dad was intentionally being mean. I think he felt so insecure about his own self he couldn’t stop it. Back then you didn’t run to the therapist for every problem. You fixed it or lived with it.

Mom worked the 8-5 job and although I cooked a lot of meals and tried my hardest to keep the house cleaned, it was never enough once we all sat down at the dining table. Our half-sister was the adorable one. She talked about school and what activities she was in. Conversations quickly turned to her to escape even more fog.

When I graduated from high school Mom and I weren’t the closest. I always knew that she and I had never bonded like moms and daughters should. I loved her the best I knew how, but she hurt me.

I pondered on what it would be like to have a Mom who really loved me and wanted me. I am not ever going to say that I didn’t cause grief for her. I think  most kids cause grief for their parents.

I moved out of the house and got to be one of those bratty kids according to my Mom because I didn’t remain at home. My Mom worked up town and I would sit across from her office on the courthouse lawn and watch her through the window.

Why did I do that, I don’t know for sure. I think now when I look back I wanted her to notice me. I wanted to make her feel as uncomfortable as she had made me feel. One summer day I was sitting on my favorite bench and I walked over to say hello to her when she got off of work.

I walked with her to the back alley where her car was parked. I don’t remember what transpired between her and I but I do remember those cutting words even today. I don’t know why you can’t be like your half-sister. She never gives me trouble like you do. But of course I could never love you as much as I do her. She is my only child.

Wow, what a blow to me that was. I think deep inside my gut I knew that was the way she felt about me but to hear the words. I wanted to run and hide under a big rock, I wanted to die right there on the spot.

I tried for years to forgive myself for ruining her life. It never worked. Then I blamed her thinking, Well no one forced you to marry into a ready-made family. Don’t blame me for this.

I wonder now as I write this if Al understood enough and felt the way I did. We were the extras. We were the baggage that came along. If she wanted to marry our Dad she  had to take us in to.

Mom told me one time a few years before she died, You understand Terry, why I could never adopt you and Al and legally be your Mom. I was always afraid of your real Mother coming back for you if she read or heard about it.

I can remember looking at my brother Al, and in my heart telling him, It’s not our fault bud. We didn’t ask for this. You and me, we belong together, we are real brother and sister. I love you bud.

Life for me became more dismal after she said that remark. It sliced so hard and deep that I still haven’t gotten over it today. While I am writing this, the pain instantly re-surfaces and I feel the deep ache of wanting to belong.

I have to believe that inside Al’s head today is masses of memories too difficult to deal with. They remain hidden and buried so deep that even  with all of the professional counselors I have had him to, nothing works.

Counselors do alright until they touch the subject of parents and Al flips out. I don’t mean slightly, I refer to him as a tornado. Dark and huge coming at you with daggers so sharp they would kill you.

The topic was always dropped when the professionals saw this. They usually dismissed him as a client also. We went through five therapists. The last one specialized in Adult Disabilities and she just knew she could help Al. But once again, when she approached the parent topic after having seen Al for one month, he exploded.

I never tried again after he was so outraged that the police were called and they had to calm him down by force. When I hear the word therapist today, I use every block I have within me to keep Al safe.

I know that he should get it out of his head, but I refuse to put him through hell ever again. God will deal with Al. God will protect him in the perfect way.  I do not have what it takes to approach this subject matter. When the nursing home came to me with the idea of someone speaking to Al, I stood tall like a fence and said

Bye granddad....



Support Hug Please

al and meToday I started one of my classes and it was so good to talk to other humans that were not ill. After it was over I went to see Al. I needed to take him some pants that I had found plus visit.

The Social Services found me and did a check on Al’s room. He had four cars there that were collectibles and of value. She made me take them home. It broke my heart because I knew that he enjoyed looking at them. She and I finished and then I was getting ready to go back down to sit with him while he finished his lunch.

I saw Al coming down the hall all bent over but using his walker. He was frustrated and mumbling but I could hear the wicked things coming out of his mouth. I went to meet him and the first thing he was upset about was the wet floors and the wet floor sign. He ranted and raved about them being in his way. He said they didn’t care if he fell or not.

The real problem I discovered was that he had to go potty. He was so afraid that he was going to have an accident. I told him he may want to consider using the bathroom before he went to a meal, and he said he did. He was also concerned that if he wet himself, people would laugh. I explained about him wearing his brief and that no one would see anything, and he could just change briefs.

He was mad and irritated. He cried all the way back down to the dining room. He and I saw a lady beginning to take his meal and I sort of yelled a head letting her know he was coming back to finish it. She stopped and did not take it. He cried some more and tried to claim she wanted to throw his meal a way and wanted him to starve. I tried talking to him, saying we saved it and then an activities director butted in and told Al,” You should have said something that you were coming back”. This made Al cry even harder and he said he did everything wrong. I explained to the director that with Al’s mentality, he only thinks for the moment. I said that thinking a head to the next fifteen or twenty minutes is not in his thinking process. She came back with a remark, “Well, then we can’t be responsible for taking his food and throwing it away”.

I said nicely and with a small smile,” I just told you his mentality will not let him say that. You are making him feel bad, now please stop “. She grinned at me and said,”Well, there is nothing we can do”. and I said, “Stop talking right now”.

Al was a mess. He was crying, agitated, mad. I could not calm him down. Then the social services lady came up and told Al that she made me take his four cars home. The talking stopped with Al but more tears fell, and these were gentle tears. I couldn’t take it. I know they have rules but I could not take it.

What little bit of gratification I got this morning was wiped out. I wanted to comfort Al but instead I told him I would see him later and left like a big coward. I didn’t want to break down in tears right there in front of him. I was afraid he would think I was taking his side and then more war would break out between the facility and him.

I hate it that he can’t have hardly anything else in his room. Just petty things. The housekeeping even threw a way an open box of chocolate covered cherries I had bought him for Christmas.

I can’t take it, I just can’t take it. I can not buy him anything he wishes anymore because they took all of his money. I sit here helpless and feel beat up. It wouldn’t do any good to buy him anything anyways, he could not have it.

What a coward I was by leaving. I had no choice but to come home and write to you, my friends. I want to protect him like from everything that hurts him, but I can not. I found out that the doctor did increase his pain meds and this will start tonight at bedtime. I am sorry, but I am hoping that the new dosage increase will somehow make him forget what he thinks he is losing.

I hate it because the Parkinson’s is changing Al’s personality from a gently smiley man to a grumpy man who barks at anyone. What can I do??? I am so frustrated. I just hate this PD so very very much

Advice Hour

Français : Une cannette de Coca-Cola italienne...

I can’t seem to lick this problem, so once again, I am coming to you for advice. You have Al

English: Vintage cars from Scottish Extravagan...

who is mentally 10 years old, and physically 57 years old. You also have a stubborn man who is angry when he can not do things for himself, like he used to due to the Parkinson’s Disease.

Now take one regular size bedroom and in this room is his bed, bedside table, recliner, commode, another end table, television shelf stand, and one dresser. On everything that is able to hold anything coca cola and vintage cars sit. Every nook and corner on the floor, closet clothes are being forced to move closer and closer due to his collectibles being stored.

Now that you have pictured this room, the icing on the cake is, the nurses thinks he needs a bigger path to walk in, because he has his walker in his room, and he is considered a high risk fall person. You have me who has used the cars as a bribe in order for me to get to run to Wal-Mart, plus I have a tendency to have spoiled him this year, because of his advanced stages of his illness.

We have a storage shed outside also, that I have packed some of his collectibles up in bags and taken them out there, but they are being squeezed in between shed stored items. He has been telling therapists that I won’t let him have any cars for a while, and he is agitated at me for not letting him get them.

How do I get out of this mess? How do I keep him happy, the nurse happy, and Al safe when walking? I have asked Al if he would consider selling any of his items, in order to make room for new cars,and his answers for years have always been no, these are his!!, and we already have placed shelves up to help too.

The problem is that Al’s mentality only sees that he likes these cars and he wants them, pretty black and white for him. Sometimes I get confused with his mentality, not being sure if this is a throwing fit game, in order to get his own way, or if his mentality is actually not letting  him feel the reasoning that I am explaining to him. I also get concerned, because Al throws fits like an adult and not like a ten year old. I do see this comprehension as a growing problem with Parkinson’s, but I still need to get this issue fixed. It is driving me crazy, him being upset and  crying and me overly explaining. Ideas for me?