Thursday, 9 December 2010

Weather. Rest.

All this weather has been strange. It's meant that my mother, who's still on crutches after cracking a bone in her back, has been mostly stuck at home. I've only been able to visit Dad once as the roads have been treacherous, even in the city. And, I've been snowed out of my rural office for much of the past two weeks.
There have been some scary drives when the village has been accessible. It is beautiful shrouded in white. Snow is frozen like wet quartz in the bitingly cold temperatures.

Working from home and a lack of driving has given me a bit of a break. Not being able to get from here to Mum to the hospital safely (mostly for my mother's sake – ice and crutches do not go!) has meant an enforced rest from reality.

I've missed Dad, but he's probably no longer able to miss us.

Seeing him over the past month has been hard. He's fallen badly twice. Partly because the staff don't realise how bad his eyesight is without his specs. He's now mostly confined to a chair. A chair with a seat belt. He is stuck there unless someone takes him for a walk. It is heart breaking. He is like small child strapped into a buggy. But he is not a child, he is the shadow of my father.

Other families tell us he seems calm when we are not there. Not resisting the chair and the straps that keep him there. It is when we visit that he fights it. Struggles wordlessly shaking the straps, the arms, pulling. Maybe he is trying to reach us. I undo these restraints and walk with him. Him unsteady, gripping my hands. Silent. A sparrow. My father.

We eat cakes and talk of anything to him. It is noise and love. Painted on calm and smiles, just trying to lift his isolation and separation from us and his world.

The image of him and the chair make me cry as I type. It is yet another small loss, another trickle of grief in the journey of dementia.

A week's break in visiting has meant a week without the constant reminder of the sadness.

Today is has reached 2 degrees, and there is constant dripping of melting ice: noise outside after the silence of the snow.

It feels strangely warm.

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