Harder Than a Black Walnut Tree

That’s what this is… Hard. 

I spent years and years just visiting my father. Little snippets of him here and there. I have a huge respect now for my mother. I have a huge respect now for my step-mother. Of course, she’s my ex step-mother, but in my father’s eyes there will be no other. 

That. Is. Hard. Hard because I want him to have friends. I want people that care about him to be in his life. What I don’t want is his misunderstanding of how his life is carved out for him now. He’s in my home. Living under my roof. Unfortunately he can still drive, which he should not be doing. Unfortunately he’s constantly wanting to go back three hours South. Not to go “home”, but to see his ex-wife. On paper this sounds romantic, but in reality this is a nightmare. 

My hardest struggle with my father is constantly having to explain why he can’t do this or he can’t do that. I’m taking a beating, not literally, of course. Every time I tell him to stop doing something or give a reason he can’t, I’m putting myself at risk to later be the center of his blame and shame.

Today I am going to allow my husband to tell him that he needs to stop mowing our front yard back and forth for an hour. He’s spitting rocks all over our cars, the house, the neighbors cars. They’re irritated, we are irritated and I believe we have the right to be. However, we’re dealing with someone who can’t think logically about his actions. He’s not thinking about the cars and as soon as we say something he will feel scolded rather than appreciated. 

I can’t believe in a world of impassionate people that my father hasn’t been the center of some huge public blowout. I was with him the other night when he ordered cigarettes at a drive up window. Instead of using the call button he knocked on the window. He then ordered three packs. One at a time. For real. 

That is the hardest part for me personally. How do you continuously correct a 68 year old man who sometimes acts like a toddler? During his moments of clarity, he will understand, but then embarrassment kicks in and he will feel ashamed. Then the anger builds and it all builds towards me. 

Imagine how hard it is to get so wrapped up in your frustration that you forget he’s mentally ill. It’s easy to get drawn into the chaos. Yesterday he was on fire and today he’s  back in bed at 8:00 am. One day is good. One day is bad. One day is good. One day is bad. One day is good and bad.  I kind of think this is why Xanax exists. 

4 thoughts on “Harder Than a Black Walnut Tree

  1. My heart aches for you Chantel. I wish I was closer to you so that I could at least be there to try to be of some help. Not sure if I could be, but I know I’d try my best. I always have and always will think of your Dad as family, and family takes care of family no matter what in my book. Now there are exceptions to every rule & this one no different. Sadly, there are individuals who are not worthy of being called family even though they are directly related by bloodlines and you already know how I feel about them. (No further details needed here). ;}


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