Our life changed after mom died in 2013.
After the initial things you must do after death, and the initial grief, and the world begins to turn again, you figure out your new normal.
Dad had already begun relying on me more when mom was alive. She had always handled the bills, accounts, and financials. But she had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t anymore. So – for the first time in 40 years, dad was paying the water bill. His union dues. The electricity. Balancing his checkbook. I was helping with things like that. They had made a promise to each other not to put the other in a nursing home – so he was her primary caregiver. But… You still need to go to the grocery store, the bank, etc. So I would work from his house to essentially babysit so he could handle that stuff. Towards the end, he began second guessing himself on her medical care, so I would help with those things as well.
After she passed, he slowed down. There was no one to care for any longer. With only himself to worry about, and no one to nag him about the cleaning or the house… He just stopped. He wouldn’t clean. He’s a natural hoarder, and house just piled up with stuff. The outside stuff, yard work, and home repairs began to fall on us. Only that created conflict because dad thought he should be able to to, couldn’t, but thought it was his choice not to. And everything we did – because we didn’t do it his way – was wrong. And he never ever paid for anything he could do himself. But if he couldn’t it just didn’t get done, because he should. It was a constant struggle.
He began seeing someone, Mary Lou, and old high school friend. You want creepy? Have your 80-something father talk to you about dating after your entire life of over four decades, he was with your mom. Ew.
But she wasn’t interested in a relationship, and was only interested in casual dating. Dad’s not built that way. I don’t think he has ever – ever – ever been alone. Mom was his 4th wife. The longest for sure, but he’s meant for a relationship, not casual dating. In addition, Mary Lou had family drama. She was still very involved in property and things with her ex-husband, and there was some kind of drama with that. Eventually, they stopped seeing each other.
Then… Dad got close again to his ex-wife. Very close. Like – seeing each other through handwritten letters. Except… She’s married. It was inappropriate. He was having me send her flowers and shit, because he couldn’t figure out how. They both could say, “nothing happened,” but that’s not honest. Also… creepy.
It was all just weird.
And a little eeewww.
And then he got diagnosed.