Friday, 22 January 2010

What consoles you?

The writer of a weekly sector specific e-bulletin I have mentioned before always starts with some personal reflection* before moving on to the business of the week. He writes thoughtfully about the world around him, ageing, politics, philosophy and so on. This week these words strike a chord with me. He was asked by a friend what consoles him and his reflections are thus;

'I consider some of the things which console me. Fish and chips – ice cream – skylarks and beaches – certainly music and books. But if David asked me that question now my answers would be – friendship. Ultimately, I believe, we’re consoled by love.'

I wonder about this for myself. I wonder this about you.

I wonder more about this for my father. We all need consolation from time to time, the reassurance and comfort that alleviates our distress, sorrow or troubles. What comfort, what consolation can I bring to a man who is shrinking before my eyes?

I have a photo of me and Dad on my graduation day, just over a decade ago. I am standing with him, his arm round me, my head on his shoulder. He is smiling and proud, despite the troubles going on at home, the real world was put to one side for a day. That photo makes make sad and happy in equal measure.

I visited him last night. In that photo he is taller than me, today he is like a sparrow. He is unsteady on his feet, and can barely speak. He is surprisingly strong for a man who is now little more than skin and bone. He grips my hand as if he will never let go, despite his eyes being somewhere in the distance, distracted by light and sound from the television in the corner of the room. Dementia robs him of focus and connection.

I tell him I love him. I don't know if he hears me, I don't know if he knows what that means or who I am. I tell him anyway. These days touch, music, food, and a little companionship are all I can bring. I know not if this consoles or comforts him. It is all I can give.

I can only hope that somewhere inside of him, he is aware of these small gifts. They are attempts at comfort that are also selfish in their giving. They console me, knowing that I am there and that I have tried. Not knowing if they are received or not, I will continue to love him and console him as best I can.

I console myself also with music, thick woollen cardigans, food and good wine, watching the weather and birds outside my window, hills and open spaces, sleeping in tents, and friendship.

*I won't name the author here as I want my blog stay anonymous – well, mostly – in a world of Google and working in a small sector I need it to be that way. If you would like to know more please use the email button below.


  1. Hi, V...I am passing on an award to you, the "Honest Scrap" award. I hope you like it. You were the first blog I found when I started blogging and still one that I am always interested in keeping up with. Your total candor and honesty...If you want to look at any "rules" for it, right now it is at the top of my page, until I write another blog entry later in the week.
    Have a nice day...

  2. Thank you! I really apreciate this, and glad we've found each other's blogs along the way. I'll stop in and have a look this evening. And congratulatons to you for being recognised again! Well deserved, Vx