Lost on South Meadows Parkway
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Lost on South Meadows Parkway
A long time ago, before I had kids and was living my best liquored up life in Reno, Nevada, my dad would sometimes come to stay with me while my mom travelled. My dad was incapacitated after a stroke, and unable to really care for himself — certainly not capable of living without supervision.
This was in part from the stroke, but heavily influenced by his all-consuming alcohol addiction. It was our family secret. We didn’t speak of it openly, but we lived our lives in whispers and tiptoed around the massive elephant in the room.
My mom’s relationship to my dad was heavily co-dependent. She tried to boot him out once, moving him into a small apartment, but he set his apartment on fire and could have killed someone. I think after that she decided to sacrifice her freedom for the greater good of keeping watch over dad.
Of course, she wanted to take breaks now and again. Who wouldn’t? So every so often she would travel. She would send dad to live with me in Reno, or with my sister in Portland, or she would hire a caretaker to watch him at home in the Bay Area. This time? He was Reno-bound.
I enjoyed having my dad with me. I loved him dearly. He was a good, genuinely kind man with demons who had completely consumed him. When he stayed with me, it was under the false bravado that he wouldn’t drink or cause drama. Ha ha ha.
I worked full time, so during the day he was left at home with the assumption he would relax and watch TV. Riddle me surprised (some sarcasm here, but I always held out hope), then, when I came home during my lunch hour to find him gone. Where does a old man who has aphasia and slow coordination go when the nearest store, bar or even coffee shop is a good mile away? He finds a way, of course. He somehow walked his way to the liquor store.
Of course I didn’t know that, though. I wondered if he went for a walk or perhaps fell somewhere. I started to drive around, my intrusive thoughts growing by the second.
“I had ONE job while mom was gone — keep dad safe and alive. And I blew it,” I thought.