I wish to share my story concerning my experience with my parents over the past year and a half. My Mum and Dad are almost ninety years old, and still living at home. They are, as the saying goes, both fiercely independent, although my mother used to chat with me a lot more than my Dad about the big and small things in her life. I would like to start by saying that my main reason for writing here is simply because I have nowhere else to turn for advice and support at this time. I hope I can explain why later. I also hope that some of the courageous and loving people here will forgive me my difficulties and shortcomings in expressing the emotionally painful elements of this story. To be honest, I do not even know where to begin. Over the past twenty years I have spent quite a few periods living and working abroad, together with my wife and our son. However, throughout the years spent in this country, we always used to visit my Mum and Dad at home two or three times a year, usually Christmas/New Year, and in the spring and summer. My relationship with Mum was formerly very easy and straightforward, and we talked about anything and everything together. However, despite my respect and love for Dad, I could never get close to him. In common with many of his generation (he was in the last world war, and in the army for some years after the war), he never shared with me anything about his life, nor any of his personal or business affairs. However, he was often wanting to know the details of my life, and the accounts that I gave to him just as often resulted in bouts of anger, abuse or pointless recriminations. This led to some very difficult times when I despaired of ever getting close to him. During recent years, whilst abroad, I had always maintained contact, phoning Mum and Dad once a month just to keep in touch and to reassure Mum that I was fine (she used to worry a lot). The last time I was abroad, in the year before my return to the UK, Dad requested that I call them more frequently than once a month, as I had previously been doing. I agreed to contact them once a fortnight, and continued to do this until my return. During this time I had many warm conversations and discussions with Dad, and I also wrote several emails to to them both, concerning my impending return, and other plans. During one call at this time, my Dad requested me not to ask him to make any decisions, as he told me he was finding this difficult to do. As I had not asked him to decide anything, I wasn't sure why he said it. Anyway, I resolved not to consult him or request any decisions from him in the future. During this period, I also remember him telling me that my mother's memory was becoming quite bad, and a request that I come and visit them both during that year. In the light of what I had been told, I began to consider the possibility of relocating somewhere closer to their home, in order to be of some assistance as and when necessary, rather than returning to my former home town where I, my wife and our son still had friends and contacts. When I suggested this as an alternative possibility, my Dad responded favourably, mentioning that they could both do with some help if I was there. Everything appeared to be fine until a few weeks after my return to England. Over the course of about three months the following exchanges took place at different times between me and my Dad: When I mentioned his earlier request for me to visit them this year, and my intention of living closer to them in accordance with that request, he angrily denied that he had ever said such a thing, and that they did not require my help or assistance. He told me he had made arrangements to grant power of attorney to my sister for the management of his financial affairs. He suggested some doubts about whether my son (who he has known since he was a toddler, and has watched grow up into his late teens) may not actually be my son. He had never previously made any mention of such a thing, and there had never been any cause for doubt nor any basis for such a comment. The worst thing was that he spoke these words whilst both my wife and his grandson were in the same room. At this time I struggled to understand more fully the reasons for the inconsistency in my father's behaviour when measured against the calm, almost intimate, conversations we had had over the phone earlier that year, before my return. During a visit to their home on Boxing Day that year, I tried to have an open discussion with my father and mother about their future plans. My Dad became irate and defensive, and despite my attempt to explain the causes of my concern, he abruptly told my wife, my son and myself to 'get out'. I asked my wife and son to sit in the extension of the house and to wait for me, and returned to sit down with my father and try to ascertain the causes of this behaviour, asking him to be honest with me. He shouted 'I hate you', adding that he wished I had never come back to this country, and wished I would go back to the country I had just returned from earlier that year. I remained calm, and asked him if there was something I had done (that may have caused him to feel that way). He told me that I had taken his grandchildren away from him. In view of the fact that our son, who had accompanied us on all our visits since his childhood, was sitting in the same house at that moment, I became concerned that he was not perhaps fully aware of what he was saying. He then told me that he preferred my former wife. I presumed then that he was referring to the children from my previous marriage, which ended twenty-two years ago. In an attempt at reconciliation, I told my Dad that I did not hate him, but wished he could be more honest and open with me. He only replied that he did not hate me either, which I observed as being the reverse of the words he had spoken minutes before. I reminded him of this, asking him which words I was supposed to believe were true. He answered that he had not said he hated me. I then told him I was concerned that he appeared to be losing his memory, which he angrily denied. At a loss to explain this behaviour, I told him that I wanted to speak with their doctor (which I later regretted). I apologised to Mum, and promptly left their house with my wife and son. I rang the doctor the following morning. He told me that my father had just called him minutes earlier, to tell him not to speak to me. He continued that, as a result, he was unable to share any information about my mother and father with me. However he did allow that I was welcome to give him any information that I felt might be useful or necessary. I later made an appointment to see him, and gave him a letter which contained most of the information detailed above. It was a bit like talking to a brick wall, and I haven't bothered to contact him since then. The shock of the whole experience has left me in complete confusion for over a year now, during which time I have not wished to visit them again, and ruled out any visits accompanied by my wife and son for fear of subjecting them to further abuse. I only maintain contact with occasional emails to and from my father, which are awkward and stilted affairs to say the least. I have let them know that I am here for them, and they may contact me at any time if they feel it is necessary. I have since described the situation in brief to my own doctor, but she did not venture any possible avenues apart from some independent counselling for myself which I have not pursued. At this time I am more concerned for the well-being of my Mum. I have not seen her for over a year now and I fear that she is possibly the most at risk person now on the receiving end of Dad's abusive behaviour. I remember her referring to him a few years ago as 'just a bully' and my heart goes out to her. It is hard enough facing old age and infirmity without the kind of abuse which my father has always seemed to thrive on. I really need to know how she is, but it has been impossible to speak with her in confidence as my Dad always listens in to our conversations on the other phone they have in the house. She called me once last year, but she did not say anything about what has happened, just the usual small talk. I am sorry if I have been rambling on too much, I have lost all hope of ever having a meaningful relationship with my Dad now, but it has been too long now without knowing how they are getting on, and this is the worst time of year for the elderly.