Tim: Ted’s response to “I’m screaming ‘HELP’ and no one’s listening”

Dearest Jessica,

This is written in the utmost love and caring.  I am not going to “take sides” between you and Tim.  I AM going to try to show why, in my opinion, all your painful attempts to help Tim have come to this debacle.

You have acted the Good Samaritan, at great discomfort to yourself and Jerry, trying to bring to bring health and safety and comfort to Tim’s declining years.  All you expected was a little gratitude.  And you didn’t get it.

You made one error.  You did for him what you would have had him do for you. But you didn’t recognize that he was NOT you, that his needs and wants were not the same as yours.

You yourself want to be sure that you are safe.  You want your environment and your future free of danger and uncertainty.  You want people around you that do and say expected things.  It gives you security to take the right food and medicine.  Above all, you want to feel that you are taken care of by somebody.

But when you find your own misery in “knowing my brother is not eating right or taking his medicines as prescribed,” you’re prescribing your own mental sufferings.

I do hear you screaming.  NO! NO MORE. THIS IS IT. THIS IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE. But I think I also hear Tim screaming the same thing.  “NO! NO MORE. Let me live my own life, walk my own paths, choose my own destiny, die my own death.  As* I* wish it, not as you do.”

You don’t want him to go out alone, because he might fall and hurt himself.  But as I read Tim, to be kept in like that is imprisonment; he’s willing to take the risk.  If he gets lost, he’ll have a new experience. If he falls, he’ll look for the stars.  If he dies, he’s gotten through to where we’re all going all the time.

You worry about Tim “wandering around at night, picked up by strangers offering him a ride home”  Jessica, that is exactly what Tim has done all his life.  From it he has gained experience, friends, and a lack of fear. You can’t imagine that behavior without fear.  But the fear is yours, not his.

You hate to think of him being “lonely and depressed” in his apartment; (you actually keep his apartment key yourself!)  But it is precisely in his apartment that he feels really himself and whole; he was lonely and depressed at your house.  If he died with you, it would be a tragedy for him; if he died at his own apartment, it would be closure.

Your methods were completely well-intentioned, but they haven’t worked. The solution is not to hand him over to another person who would use your methods.  What some of us are trying to tell you is “Let him go.”  You can’t make him want for himself what you want for him, or for your own peace of mind

There were 17 people at Lisa’s this weekend who want the best for Tim.  He is not alone.  None of us are going to “cut him loose.”

You took this burden on you for the most noble and loving reasons.  Please put it down in the same spirit.

With much love and hope for your comfort, I’m still

your other brother


P.S.  Consider removing some of your recent blogs from public view.  I feel they don’t do justice to Tim or to yourself.


NOTE: That was days ago.  I immediately removed my last three posts, reconsidered them, rewrote some things and have just re-posted them. What the hey. They’re true.


About Jessica Renshaw

This entry was posted in My brother Ted, My brother Tim, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tim: Ted’s response to “I’m screaming ‘HELP’ and no one’s listening”

  1. DL says:

    I agree with Ted. I had to do this with my sister. She is very much like Tim; they are both “mentally ill.” The biggest difference is that she is living with a criminal who is not very bright and who is unpredictable. I am never sure where they are. They answer the phone very seldom..maybe once a month. All I want to do now is visit her, take her to lunch, get her a haircut. buy her an outfit and anything else she needs and never stop hugging her. But, no answer on the phone for the last six weeks. My wish is that she would divorce him and live with us, but she won’t leave him no matter how miserable it gets (What does that say about ME? HA.) I think you are more frustrated that you could not solve “the problem of Tim.” I think that because that is a huge frustration with me trying to help my sister. We love them, but we can’t control them.

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