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Really pissed at my father

July 31st, 2017 at 10:47 am

It's 6 a.m. Right now, I should be winging my way down to the Jersey shore with my father but instead I'm sitting at home, wondering what happened. My father's left for the 3-hour trip without me.

The plan was he would be here at 6 a.m. and we'd drive down together. By now he knows I will nearly always say when we go out somewhere that I want to drive. And he nearly always lets me, no big deal.

By saying I want to drive, it means I don't have to say, dad, it's not safe for you to drive with macular degeneration. You can't see the face of someone 10 feet away from you who says hello, but you feel it's perfectly okay to make the 3-hour trip (1 way) down the Jersey shore.

I'm not saying he should give up driving entirely. He can get around town well enough. But um, driving down I-684, the Saw Mill Parkway, over the Tappan Zee Bridge, I-287 to the Garden State Parkway covers some of the most heavily congested roadways in the Northeast.

When I told dad I wanted to come on this trip (he has an 11 am appointment to see the court constable and then I set up appointments with realtors for 1, 2 and 3 pm), we agreed he'd be here at 6 a.m. to pick me up.

I asked him if he had an alarm clock. He said no. I asked him if he wanted me to call him. He said yes. I asked what time, and he said 5:15 a.m.

So I got myself organized last night for a quick early morning departure, set 2 alarm clocks and went to bed early. I called him at 5:15 a.m. He did not pick up. It went into voice mail. I called another 4 times and the same thing.

Now what? This happens all the time. He uses an old clam shell phone he doesn't really know how to use and half the time he doesn't hear the phone ring.

I debated having to get in the car and drive the 15 minutes over there to wake him up. I could have called my sister and asked her to walk over there to wake him, but we're not dealing with each other and I wasn't sure she'd be awake that early.

I decided to just stay put, realizing if we got a late start we'd hit all kinds of traffic, making an already long drive even longer.

Close to 6 am dad called me from the road and said he'd be here in 5 minutes.

He pulls up in my driveway and I go out with a box of cleaning supplies and some pruning tools I wanted to bring along. With his vision issues, he couldn't really see a dirty countertop or smudged walls. He had his cleaning woman there but I'm sure she didn't do everything.

Since we wouldn't be returning to CT til tonight, I figured I'd make myself useful.

In the driveway, dad's sitting in the driver's seat and tells me to get in. I tell him I want to drive. He says, get in. Why he chose to dig in his heels this time, I don't know, but honestly, there was this time he was driving us south on the Saw Mill Parkway, which is an old 2-lane, twisty highway that has way more volume than it was built for.

The exit ramps onto the highway have no acceleration lane; people have to come to a complete stop and wait to cut in. That's why dad likes to drive int he fast lane on that road.

It's a dangerous road, and this time dad was driving i was really fearful and afraid for my life. He can't read the odometer and so he doesn't know how fast he's going but he tells me he just keeps up with the traffic. Well, the traffic always goes way too fast. He's like inches away from the guard rail, swerving around these curves. There was nothing I could do but grit my teeth and hold on, and I silently told myself I wouldn't do that again.

So, back to me and dad in the driveway. We have a standoff. For whatever reason, he does not want to yield, and I don't want to drive 3 hours with him because I feel it's unsafe. He says I don't have time, get in the car or I'm leaving. I stood and looked at him and he started to leave. I walked back in my house, really disgusted and angry.

Dad is 84 but you just can't tell him what to do. I'm angry, because I've gone out of my way to help in so many different ways, and then he pulls something like this. I cater to him in every conceivable way, and I am always thinking of his best interests.

He doesn't want to admit there are things he can't, or shouldn't, be doing anymore. Driving in particular is a huge thing that gives him independence. I get that. He doesn't want to hear me tell him it's not safe to make that drive anymore.

I am fuming. I am also worried, realizing that with the last realtor appointment ending around 3:30 or 4 pm, his choices for getting home will be either to leave just in time for massive rush hour traffic, or wait til after rush hour and drive home in the dark. Which is what we would have done, except that I would have been driving. Or at least, I planned on driving. Maybe he will spend the night and return tomorrow. I have no idea.

7 Responses to “Really pissed at my father”

  1. Carol Says:

    Oh, I am so sorry.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    We can't control other people unfortunately. Try to enjoy your day!

  3. AnotherReader Says:

    Based on what you have posted, your father has at least four children - you, your sister and two half brothers. He lives on your sister's property, so she also should have noticed the problems, although she was not helpful with your mother. Perhaps it's time to start a conversation among all of the siblings and half siblings about the macular degeneration and driving. At some point, your father is likely to need more assistance, so a discussion about that is also in order.

    I don't know the laws in your state, but in California, doctors are able to report people that should no longer drive to the DMV and the DMV will revoke the licenses. Individuals may also do so, but the information may be disclosed to the driver under some circumstances. Makes for some difficult choices.

  4. laura Says:


    You say that you "cater to him in every conceivable way." I do think that you might want to have a candid and honest discussion with him. Maybe that it is in both of your best interests. And having parameters on what you will and won't do would be helpful and save you the fretting about a situation like this again.

    I am the parent to three teens who drive (two licensed and one permitted) so I get the dread and concern of having loved ones out there. My FIL is seeing a retinologist and may not be driving longer. That will be a brutal battle too since MIL doesn't drive.

  5. rob62521 Says:

    I am very sorry. You are truly between a rock and a hard place with this. I hope your dad arrives safely to the appointment as well as home.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    You did everything you could do in this situation. Your father decided he would drive and gave you an ultimatim. I am sure he is dealing with issues of denial and is refusing to face any loss of independence. I hope he will reconsider when he cools down and will let you help in the future. But you can't force him. Very hard, I know.

  7. elitaylor646 Says:

    I am so sorry to hear about this. I really hope it turned out ok. Been thinking of you yesterday and today.

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