Dad’s and My Future

It’s all in God’s hands.

This week has sure been stressful.  But it appears the future is starting to reveal itself and all will work out for Dad and I.  He recently took a fall as well as having had some other aging-related issues.  I was unsure how to help him.  It is an agonizing thing to face, balancing what is healthiest physically while trying to preserve one’s dignity and happiness.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to make the difficult decisions – his doctors did.

After some tests were run to determine Dad’s condition, it was strongly recommended that we look at assisted living for the near future and then see how he does.  I had the opportunity to choose his apartment and help furnish it with things to make it more like home.  It’s got a beautiful view.  In a way, I am almost envious.  It would be nice to have a warm, clean room, a real toilet (not a bucket!), friends all around, activities, and three healthy meals a day…  The place is really pretty.  I’m not sure how Dad will like it but I would ditch the van in a heartbeat to live there!  Oh yeah, one of their regular activities is to travel around on a van trip.  Woo wee… Sounds like a lot of fun… 🙂

For now, I’ve got a major project to work on.  Like many older people’s houses, Dad’s needs some restoration work to make it cleaner and safer should he be able to return.  In the meantime, I’ll be around there more than ever, working in the house and helping get it back in shape.  On the upside, it means free parking, free shore power, and full restroom / kitchen use. 

The vandwelling is a blessing right now.  This ultra cheap living will let me take as much time off from conventional working as is needed.  My total bills are maybe… $200 a month… and there is plenty of food (too much, actually) in the deep freezer.  Apparently, God’s plan is to have me continue to help Dad in this fashion.  I thank Him for keeping the needs met along the way.

I feel blessed to have enjoyed as much time as possible with my earthly father, even now as he slowly slipping away from us.  It is encouraging to know that there will be more times together in the coming days and I think we will both treasure those times.  At the same time, I also have help with some of the things that I’m not qualified to be able to help with such as health care.

Friends have asked me if taking care of things is stressful.  No, it’s really not.  It is nowhere near as stressful as not knowing how to help, what to do, and watching someone not have the help he really needs.  Things are going really well.

The last week has renewed my faith in mankind to some degree.  The staff at the hospital is incredibly friendly.  One of the people helping Dad is a guy close to my age.  His first name begins with S.  I once worked with him at a job in Iowa City before we both changed careers.  “S” knows about my van trekking exploits, a way to help friends and family in a sort of unconventional way – entertaining and offering a little advice to those wanting to escape from the “American Nightmare” (a life of enslavement to mortgages, credit card debt, stress, anxiety, all that crap). 

“S” is an awesome individual.  I know that Dad is in good hands and that means a lot these days.

Crock Pot Rabbit Stew with Spinach Souffle

For now the van is parked and I am still living in it… and will be for a long time to come. 

During all the pandemonium, Sis gave me a wonderful certificate to Nelson’s Meat Market in Cedar Rapids.  One of the discoveries was frozen, already cleaned rabbits.  I read a dozen or so recipes and put together a stew that was customized for van cooking.  The results were lip smacking.  The tomcat, Mr. Jesse James, gave his approval.  The following link is for VT’s Crock Pot Rabbit Stew


As always, thank you for following along.  It’s been a difficult week and is going to get increasingly complicated.  At the same time it is a wonderful period to help Dad and make his life more comfortable.  Like I tell people, Dad took care of me for 18 years.  Now is my opportunity to help him.  It’s helping me feel better too.

I’ll be posting more recipes and musings in the coming weeks.  Once the house is done, it will be time to visit the favorite destination … Decorah, Iowa… for a little rest break.

Thanks for visiting.

Bradford, the “Van Trekker”

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

12 Responses to Dad’s and My Future

  1. Don says:

    It is really tough to help your aging parent; lucky that you and your Sis are nearby. Good luck and best wishes.

    • Brad says:

      Thanks Don. My sister is awesome (though I didn’t believe 40 or so years ago). Some families fight during such times but we are all closer than over. 🙂

      (Though she was appalled that I cooked a crockpot in the van.)


  2. tinycamper says:

    God bless the time you and your Dad have together, Brad. It is so wonderful that you are there for him now. And it’s a blessing the way it’s working out for you, too.

    My Dad died in 2001. I sure would treasure a few more minutes with him.

    • Brad says:

      Thank you for the kind words. I am grateful to still be a part of Dad’s life as the sun is setting. Mom’s death was so tragic and painful. I’m glad he’s still there.

      It’s a blessing that I still have a place to park the van for a while and it will help me save a lot of money while I work on the house.

  3. Pleinguy says:

    Glad to hear your Dad is getting the help he needs. It’s great that you are able to stick around and help where needed. As you said, the van life provides the flexibility to do what is really important. Hope everything works out well for you and your Dad.

    • Brad says:

      Thanks Pleinguy. You are right. Vandwelling is helping me live a better life and is helping Dad as well. For the last year and a half I always thought it was just to benefit me. It’s kind of cool I can use for our mutual benefit.

  4. Meg says:

    Trying again… It doesn’t look like this made it. (Feel free to delete if it did.)

    My mother was 90 when the docs finally decided she needed more care than my brother could provide at the house. She had been in the hospital and went straight to a nursing home after that. She was really upset at first, I think because she didn’t have any choice in where she went after the hospital. But now in the nursing home she has all her physical needs met, she has tons of activities to attend, and she has many more chances to socialize than she ever had at the house. And considering how sociable a person she is (unlike her daughter the loner 🙂 ) it seems to be an ideal situation. It’s been 4 years this month. Yes, she’s fading a bit both physically and mentally. But honestly I think if she’d stayed at the house she’d be gone by now. Those docs made a good decision.

    • Brad says:

      Thanks Meg! I understand how that goes. A person hates to give up his/her independence. Dad’s driving priveleges are gone now. He cannot get himself to the doc. The doctor today told him that if he goes home he’ll need care all the time, including meals, medicine, housekeeping, bathing, transportation etc. Man, was he angry. It’s a tough time right now but like your mother, it will benefit him in the long run, I think.

  5. JO says:

    A few years ago when my dad felt he couldn’t take care of himself anymore t 92 I moved in with him as he wouldn’t leave his home. He was able to take care of himself personaly but was unstable on his feet. I lived with him for about 2 1/2 months. I knew he wanted to not live anymore and he just declined. It is hard to watch the once very strong and great man in my life give up. But I would never trade those last months for anything in the world.
    Stay tough Brad and I’m glad you are there for him. Peace to you both and love

  6. a van trip… funny, Brad. I’m happy this is settling down for you and feels good.

  7. Brad says:

    Hi Charlene. When I told Dad I thought a “van trip” sounded like a blast, he shook his head and rolled his eyes. He’s given up on me… Vans are fun!

    The assisted living facility does have a lot cool activities. Yesterday it was karaoke – much better than the kind I have been to at night (maybe because no adult beverages were involved?).

    Dad is settling in pretty well. Starting this week I have to don some gloves and a mask and start working on the house (uggg). When I’m finished cleaning, Sis is coming to town to give me some time off for a fishing trip…. something to look forward to.

    Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  8. zane hodges says:

    My prayers are with you and your dad,,,,