The Growing “Desperateness” of the Life Journey of the OTHER RDugall

Yesterday, Vicky and I made our way to a hospital in Denver for a visit with my father, Ron Dugall.  A week ago, at 74 years of age, he attempted suicide again (he tried a few times during the 80’s).  This time, it was something that culminated with a knife to the abdomen and severe enough pain for him to pass out prior to him bleeding to death.  When he regained consciousness, it was enough of a shock to his system to be able to temporarily snap him back to reality.  While we were in the "Behavioral Medicine" wing of the hospital having a conversation with him, he admitted that the attempt on his life was "stupid" but it was a sincere act of desperation.  Emotional desperation has been building in my father’s life since my mom died almost three years ago.  His is a life of isolation and anxiety.  His is a life of television and darkness in his small apartment in a dismal part of Denver.  His is a life of no sleep, unfulfilled dreams and loneliness.  You see, he’s always been a caregiver.  Yes, if you know any part of my story, you know that he has not led an exemplary life…his story is filled with alcoholism, jail time, bipolar episodes, repeated hospitalization,  homelessness, and relational brokenness.  Now, in a time of life that should be filled with the culmination of relationships and "good memories", his life is filled with regret and deep sadness.  This has got to be one of the most gut-wrenching times in my life as I witness what is going on in his heart.  We have not had the closest of relationships…when I was younger, I went through extensive counseling (and $$) processing my feelings about my father and coming to some new levels of acceptance about the reality of our relationship.  Now, after hearing many, many people’s stories of angst in seeking to help their aging parents, I’m facing the issue myself.  The desperateness of my father has slowly become a mirror to my own sense of desperation…the only difference between the two of us is that I have a "solid rock" on which my life is built as well as a community of partners in my life journey that share my joys and struggles.  Friends, I’ve come to the conclusion AGAIN that community and an abiding sense of the presence of God in your life are the only ways to find meaning in this life.  Without it, quiet desperation escalates into actions of escapism.  Pray for me…I’m looking to make sense of this time in my father’s life and to find a way to navigate difficult waters.  These moments in our relationship may actually become the most intimate that we will ever share in this life. 

4 thoughts on “The Growing “Desperateness” of the Life Journey of the OTHER RDugall

  1. Brother, I know the depths of darkness. Not the darkness in which you sit, but mine was no less dark…and the light of Jesus as he sat with me in the darkness had a veiled sense to it…like it glowed through his garments…I have come to see it as a bit of a purple hue–the knowing silence of one who has suffered and who is choosing to suffer again in sharing your burden.

    I am grateful for your peace and yet mindful of your burden…and willing to carry what small portion I can in prayer.

    Be blessed…


  2. Robin,

    Praying for you as you walk through this difficult time. Elderly parents are often difficult in normal circumstances. May you know the presence of our Lord and find all you need in Him.



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