This is a painful family story. “Confronting the Unthinkable” is the story of my father’s last year. My father was a man of courage, integrity and strong convictions who gave of himself to his family, community and country. He was the most kind and generous man I have ever known.
The story referenced above tells about the events which led up to my father’s premature death. My father’s life was ended by a caregiver who had been hired to help him recover from brain surgery. Instead of helping my father, this cruel woman slowly and secretly ended my father’s life. In addition, this evil woman abused my ailing mother by hitting her, sedating her, putting duct tape on mom’s mouth to silence her, forcing mom to sit in urine soaked clothes for hours at a time and forcing a pillow over mom’s head to frighten her.
Please read what happened to my parents and my family. My dad’s story and the lessons my family learned through this devastating experience may help protect you and your loved ones from abuse, financial ruin and even an early death. Elder Abusers are people without kindness, without pity or compassion and without a heart. Elder Abusers care nothing for the achievements or the goodness or the value of their victims’ lives. Elder Abusers can be motivated by greed, envy, or just plain hate. Elder Abusers are clever and resourceful individuals who are adept at hiding their actions. Elder Abusers have no conscience; their actions are incomprehensible to ordinary, loving people.
To read a brief overview of our family’s difficult journey in pursuit of justice, please click on the link above: “Pursuing Justice“.
Also linked above is a list of suggestions entitled “Protecting your Loved One“. These suggestions may help you make decisions and prepare yourself for caring for an elderly parent or disabled loved one. These suggestions are the product of my family’s painful experience.
My sisters and I thought of many of these suggestions as we prepared to hire caregivers. As we struggled to understand what had happened to our parents after dad died, other ideas occured to us, ideas which we had not previously put into practice. The suggestions relating to communicating with the caregiver, the questions of whether an employer should help an employee with personal problems, or whether a caregiver should be allowed to sit in on private conversations with the ill patient were items which we had not previously considered.
My sisters and I were raised to be caring and loving, and we have always been generous to others less fortunate than ourselves. We accepted the caregiver as a person just like us, believing that her values, her sense of duty to her patients was very much like our own values and dedication to our parents. That was our tragic mistake. Once my sisters and I began thinking of the abuser in such intimate and friendly terms, we were unable to recognize that this hateful individual was the cause of our dad’s worsening health. We never thought to question the abuser’s truthfulness until it was too late. The abuser could lie and not be caught; she was free to hurt and kill our parents, always asserting to us that she was providing our parents the best of care. Our mistake, our naivete, cost our dad his life.
Another critical link above is “Recognizing a Sociopath“. I cannot say for certain that the perpetrator of the crimes against my parents was a sociopath, though to my non-medical mind, anyone who would do the terrible things the abuser did to my parents could only be described as such. The book by Martha Stout entitled “The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us” published by Broadway Press in February 2005 was helpful to me in understanding what had happened to our family. I read widely on the subject, but Dr. Stout’s book was the most informative of all which I read. I have included a few excerpts from Dr. Stout’s book for you to read. I recommend that you read Martha Stout’s entire book for a fuller understanding of her ideas about sociopathy.
Also included here on is an essay entitled “A Measure of Commitment” which I wrote after my father had died. The essay concerns a series of events which occured in the week following my dad’s death. Coincidences which happened to my sister and myself seemed too curious to be unconnected. These coincidences helped my sister and me understand that even though many of our family members are now deceased, they are still here with us, guiding us and loving us as they did before.
As our dad lay dying and my sisters and I were grief stricken about his impending death, our mom comforted us by telling us that our dad was going to make a new place for us, and when it was ready we would all be together again. It was no small miracle that this lovely lady who seldom spoke more than a few words because of dementia was able to provide us with these words. Our Mom passed from this life to that new place that Dad was preparing for us on July 29, 2008. During the three years our mom lived without our dad, she was cared for and loved by several kind and generous ladies. We watched vigilantly over our mom, making sure that she was safe and comfortable and as healthy as she could be. Though we miss both our parents, we know that Mom and Dad are together again, just as it was always meant to be.
My sisters and I remain committed to helping others who face the daunting task of caring for their aging parents. We have published what we have learned in the hope that you, who are reading our story, will learn from our mistakes. May God bless you and keep you and your loved ones safe.