Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bio-dad Dearest

It turns out that my bio-dad, who had a stroke two years ago, is now a burden on his 84-year old mother. Surprise! My grandma takes care of him in her home. She is not able to do this without considerable detrimental physical side effects to herself, but is unwilling or unable to express herself and/or get help. My bio-dad is unwilling to leave her home.

I received an odd phone call from grandma last week. Odd because we rarely talk on the phone. It was made in secret, she said, because she wanted me to know that she thinks my uncle is trying to take my bio-dad's things and money. She also asked me to send cards and letters to my bio-dad because "he's depressed". Newsflash: he's been very depressed for YEARS.

Last week was a fun week, what with the clandestine phone call but also because I received a letter included in my birthday card from my aunt which detailed various family members's illesses, mental conditions, and financial difficulties. Ultimately, her seven-page epistle ended with a plea that I step in and solve the problems.

How? And, um, how???

I don't feel responsible for this mess. However, if there is something I can do to help that would remove the burden of daily care from my grandma, I would be willing to do that.

I have a long history of no contact with my bio-dad. The clinical-sounding term "bio-dad" sort of gives that impression, I think. He's been depressed for years. He's been inappropriate with me and has never made amends. He barely survived my parent's divorce and spent subsequent years living in the past. He lived in his memories of me when I was little, before the divorce.

It was weird, weird, weird for me growing up around him. Luckily, it was only every other weekend. I had no way to cope with it in a healthful way until somewhat recently, which is the reason I can say I don't feel responsible. Because I'm not. (Responsible mental healthcare rules!) I don't feel guilty, either. I don't really know what to do, if anything. Doing nothing is an option.

However, like I said, there's my aged grandmother who I would help if I could. I don't know that I can help, because that would involve forcing people to do things they ostensibly don't want to do.

I need to find out more information from other, saner family members. I'll update you on that.

Does your family look a little better now? Happy Thanksgiving!


Amanda said...

Yeesh, I'll be over here on the other side of the country hoping that you hold on to this healthy attitude. Not easy, I am sure.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You are oozing with healthy. I'm glad you're not hanging on to any guilt. Good for you! Happy belated Thanksgiving, and congratulations on the newspaper job! Yay! :)

Loralee Choate said...

I can see you wanting to help your grandmother, but as you said, um...HOW?

As for the other situation rambled on by your aunt. No, that is not for you to be rescuer. It took me years to get the fact that my family's issues are not mine to always fix.

I am a lot healthier and happier since that revelation.

Catherine said...

An idea on how to help your grandmother: call Health & Human Services in her county and in your county. This is why you pay your taxes, so that in times of need you can lean on your government. They may have visiting nurse programs, or other services that'll help your grandmother take care of her son.