Dara from Connecticut

I had just resigned from my job and sold my house and planned a move to Georgia to be closer to my daughter and granddaughter. I arrived there 4 days before 9/11. My mom had passed away in 1998, leaving my father a widower. He was a pretty independent and resourceful person by nature, so I wasn't too concerned about him getting on with life. In addition, my younger brother assured me he would keep an eye on him after my departure, so I felt comfortable with that.

I returned home in December of 2002 after hearing that my aunt, not my father, was having some challenges. She didn't have any children and always thought of my brother, sister and I as hers. I learned that she was in an elder abuse situation by a family member. She was assigned a social worker and guardian, so by the time I came home I attended family meetings with them and my cousin, who allegedly was stealing money from her! I let him know what I had heard and told him straight out that I believed my source and not him! Needless to say, there was tension between us. I did what I could for my aunt and she ended up in a nursing home and died 10 years later.

My father had started "collecting" newspapers for some reason and there was a lot of clutter throughout the house. My neighbor had told me when she visited she noticed it too. My dad become "Sanford" without the son, which wasn't too surprising to me because I remember my mom trying to get him to get rid of some "junk" in the garage for many years.

I cleaned up the best I could without too much resistance. I got him to understand that I was here to help him with the upkeep of the house and keep it nice like my mom used to. The newspapers, that ended up in paper bags on the porch, were thrown out when he left the house. He would get upset with me sometimes, but I would call my daughter, the oldest grandchild, the only one he would listen to, and she would put him check!

My dad was slowing down, but he had that feisty part of him that I'm sure kept him going! We went to church events together and we'd have a good time. He needed help clipping his toenails, and refused to go up to the Senior Center where they had actual nurses who would do it for free! My dad suffered from a urinary tract infection, went to rehab, but never quite recovered. My dad died 3 years after I moved back in 2006.

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