Summer of Relentlessness

re·lent·less /riˈlentləs/ adjective — oppressively constant; incessant; inflexible; unyieldingly severe, strict, or harsh; steady and persistent; unremitting.

This is a summer of relentlessness: the relentless heat, the relentless wind, the relentlessly oppressive air; my relentless exhaustion; my father’s relentless decline and his relentless needs, my brother’s relentless onslaught of verbal abuse, paranoia, and demands.

We are trying to get my brother out of here, but there seems to be no real help from the “authorities” whoever they may be. The cops have been here several times and have done nothing, only explained why they could do nothing. The social worker from my father’s nursing service has done nothing. My efforts to cajole my brother to leave by offering to drive him back to his home state have come to naught. My efforts at offering incentives have only incited more relentlessness.

fireTo be honest, I never cared whether my brother was here as long as he left me alone. I still don’t care. The trouble is he won’t leave me alone and I need peace, so I try to go along with the advice of others on how to get him to leave. Complicating matters, I don’t want him in jail just to get him off the streets. Don’t want him on the streets around here where he can still inflict his relentlessness on me. Don’t want to be constantly arguing with others about the best way to deal with him. There is no best way. Maybe there is no way. I don’t know.

Even without my brother’s presence, this situation would be hard to handle. People who are trying to help add their own relentlessnesses, whether offering advice or expressing frustration at my inability to take their advice. I grew up in a large family, but I never did learn how to deal with conflicting and relentless needs. The swirling relentlessness of it all confuses me, so although I’m doing the best I can, my best isn’t good enough.

This relentlessness is teaching me one thing, though — the power of letting go. There is nothing one can do to stop the unyielding, unremitting, incessant onrush of unpleasantness. That is the very definition of relentless. If relentlessness could relent, it wouldn’t be relentless. And if there is nothing one can do, one can only let go of any hopes for a resolution and simply accept what comes.

And so it goes, this summer of relentlessness.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.