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Finally got my dad a place at an old folks home close to where my mom is. It was a hell of a slog though. He DID NOT want to go, but there really wasn't any choice since he'd been getting l'ost' and had to be brought back home by the cops at least once. The only reason he could achieve even a semblance of normalcy was because he was familiar with his surroundings. Change that and he was/is near helpless. His memory is basically shot and he's starting to regress to a more childlike state, accompanied by a LOT of crying. Damn, I'd only seen him cry twice before, and that was at the funerals of his dad and brother. During the past couple of months I've lost count of how many times he's broken down. I think what really got him upset, prior to my mother having her breakdown and subsequent hospitalization, was having his drivers license revoked. He still drove (illegally) until I disabled the car.. amazing what a little crazy glue will accomplish when applied to the brake/tranny interlock switch.. I'm kinda sneaky. In reality, my dad should be where my mom is but, due to how the system works, he'd have to either have a complete breakdown like my mom had or have a 'professional' declare him unfit to be anywhere else. That's where the assisted living complex we got him into comes in. It's costing abt $3000/month but, when he deteriorates to a point where they refuse to have him there any longer, he'd be automatically placed into a subsidized full care establishment like where my mom is. I don't think it will be long, given his age and how quickly he's sliding down the slope into full-on dementia, and we'll be able to get the house fixed up and sold in the meantime. For now, I get to hop into my rig and motor on down to the Okanagan for a few months of carefree living before having to come back and house sit for the rest of the winter. I'll clean up the place, do some repairs, and get rid of all the contents. Hopefully we'll be able to sell it by the springtime and invest the funds. The interest alone should take care of the ol' folks home expenses for both of my parents when added to their savings. My sister will also be able to breathe a sigh of relief since she's the one who had to set everything up and take time off of work (power of attorney can be a ditch sometimes). Regardless, it'll be nice to just blow this burger stand for a few months and have some fun. ..Willy.
Synopsis (TLDR;) My dad racked up debt, is non-committal, may be feigning depression, and is impossible to talk to without offending. My family is falling apart, I feel responsible, and am seeking advice. I'm seeking feedback on my situation and possible suggestions for action, as I feel unable to make a sound decision due to emotional issues. The problem I'm facing revolves generally around my father, and specifically around my inability to understand his behavior. Fair warning, I find it difficult to express myself or relate a story without appearing long-winded and wordy. Some details before I begin: I am currently enrolled in my fourth and final year of undergraduate study. My father is middle-aged and lives with my mother in the suburbs of a large city in the Midwest. If you want the short(er) version skip to the second # on the left hand side of the page. # My father is horrible with money--awful at handling it, saving it, balancing it, earning it--all aspects of it, really. He works in a challenging field and, at one point, made around 60,000 dollars a year. Combined with my mother's salary of 30,000 or so, I had a privileged childhood that I remain very thankful for. Growing up, I often heard my parents argue about my dad's job, he had switched institutions three times since he began work in the late 80's, much to the dismay of my mother. She kept warning him that if he kept quitting there would soon be no more institutions in the area willing to hire him. When I was in the seventh grade, my father quit his job without informing any of us, somehow pretending to work for over a year while spending retirement savings, the college funds of my brother and I, borrowing against his pension, and racking up nearly 30,000 dollars in credit card debt on top of late mortgage payments. He spent without reserve during this time, assumedly to cover up his guilt. We received new phones; he purchased a boat, land outside of town, a new car, and finished our basement. The times were great while they lasted. Eventually my mother received a notice in the mail that revealed what my dad had done. Our house hadn't been paid off entirely (nor had the cars) and my mother didn't earn nearly enough to pay them off on her own. My parents fought and screamed for what seemed like an eternity. They threatened each other with divorce. This didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. What bothered me was when my mother wept; she waited until my father was gone and my brother and I were in bed. For some strange reason I still feel guilty that I could hear her. I realize now that I'm getting a bit away from my point, and will fast-forward a few years, refocusing the story on my brother, mother, and self. My brother and I were lucky enough to fit into the "gifted" category at school, he had excelled more than I, but we shared the same passion for learning and reading. He was dismayed by the loss of his college funds, but managed to get a full ride to a top-rated university. He worked throughout school to purchase himself a car and provide for living expenses. Looking to his example, I began working 27 to 36 hours a week at a local store, more in the summers, in preparation for college. All the while, my father began selling off ill-gotten property and took a job making 40,000 dollars a year. He made it very clear to me that he could not help me pay for college; I understood his impossible position but will not pretend I was without resentment. I followed in my brother's footsteps some years later, entering the same university with around 80% of my tuition covered by scholarship. Due to my parent's combined income, I received no income-based aid. For my first year of school I lacked decent health insurance, a car, a laptop, and a meal plan. Working regular time, and not without student loans, I have purchased these things for myself, and am currently spending what I presume to be my last summer staying with my parents in our suburban home. My mother often offers to help make payments, and I realize she would follow through, but I don't want her to lose what little she's saved by taking a second job during our troubles. This brings us to present day (again, I apologize for the lengthy preface). # During my time away at university, my father has worked at four different institutions, spending nearly half of his time unemployed. Within six shifts at a new job, he would begin to complain that the working conditions are unsafe, or the environment is hostile, or the drive too taxing. He would then promptly quit, leaving numerous black marks on his resume and stressing my mother to no end. They are now both nearing retirement age, and heâ€™s still paying off debts accrued during his vacation from reality some eight years ago. This past winter he took up a taxing job with wonderful benefits and an impressive salary. He seemed cheerier, and my parents appeared to be as, if not more, happy than they had been in a long time. Last week I returned from my apartment at school to find my mother once again distraught, and that my father had quit his job once again. This time, he introduced a new all-encompassing explanation for his behavior and truant tendencies: depression. He revealed to me that he had been diagnosed with anxiety, but not GAD, a year ago and has been prescribed a mixture of anti-anxiety medication coupled with Ritalin to counter-act the grogginess. I was shocked by this revelation, my father was taking uppers in the morning, downers at night and, according to my observations, liberally following his doctors orders to use â€œas neededâ€ throughout the day. I do not treat this depression lightly, my brother and I have suffered from it in varying degrees requiring professional attention throughout our lives. My father has never--and in my opinion still does not--show any symptoms of the disorder. He claims to be too depressed to work and sometimes even to eat. I notice that, while he â€œcannotâ€ work professionally, he spends his free time gardening, fishing, playing the guitar, and surfing the internet. He frequently skips meals my mother and I prepare, but I often find fast food bags and snack food containers hidden in the bottom of our trash bins. It infuriates me that he makes a point of looking depressed when my mother and I get ready for work in the morning by staying in bed and feigning a lack of appetite*. *A quick example, today I left for work while my dad was in bed without my tie, I returned briefly after leaving to fetch it. When I entered the house my father was eating cereal in front of the TV he had hastily turned off when he heard me open the door. This event is largely responsible for my current rant. My brother escaped much of the financial ruin, I have attempted to overcome it, but my mother is constantly bearing the price of my fatherâ€™s whims. Iâ€™ve racked my brain for solutions or even peace of mind, but I remain limited by the fact heâ€™s very temperamental, and has reacted almost violently to my attempts to verbalize financial concerns in the past. I donâ€™t feel entitled to the money heâ€™s lost, but I do feel responsible for the fate of our family. My brother has nearly abandoned the problems of our family since he moved away (we still keep in touch), my father plays the part of a child refusing to attend Sunday service because he wants to play with toys and watch cartoons, and my mother cries at night. Life at university is hard, and I feel like I have no time to myself due to hours of wage work, scholarship jobs, and studying, but returning to my parentâ€™s house is a thousand times more trying. Iâ€™m afraid my dad is noncommittal enough to abandon my mother if I donâ€™t keep coming home to mediate over breaks or possibly even petty enough to flee if I merely embarrass him by speaking candidly about the matter. Iâ€™m afraid my mother will break-down if I stop coming home or cease calling her every week while at school to listen to her vent and seek consultation. Iâ€™m afraid my brother will pull further away until heâ€™s completely unwilling to support my parents in old age when they inevitably grow too old to work if I stop keeping in close contact with him and his wife. Iâ€™m afraid I wonâ€™t be able to support them on my own while maintaining my own life and saving for a future family of my own. Advice for future action, comments on my harsh attitude towards my father, suggestions on coping are all welcome and sought. I often seek solace in books, and in writing this summary of my anxieties I was constantly reminded of Anna Karenina, â€œHappy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.â€ Tolstoy hit the mark, but it brings little comfort; I feel that unhappy families are unhappy in ineffable ways, and I regret not being able to fully communicate many aspects of our scenario in this appeal. I would be remiss not to once again apologize for my long-windedness and thank anyone who took the time to read my often pretentious and always depressing style of writing.