Warning ! Long read. Sorry xxx

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On Monday night, being back in my parents’ spare room, the insomnia returned. I spent the whole night researching vascular dementia, post stroke. I’ve grown to really despise that room. I’ve actually become completely emotionally detached from the whole house. It’s a lovely house, but it has seen some real sadness of late. Mentally, that bedroom does me no favours. I lived there all those weeks, during Dad’s hospitalisation and discharge. It’s plagued with memories of my crippling insomnia during these last 9 weeks.

I left Mum in the morning and drove home in my pyjamas, with one of my guardian angels, cleverly disguised as a loving Westie. Hats visits our house every morning at 7.30am, before she heads to work. These 40 minutes of my day are so special to me. At 7.40am, my Lou will ring me to say he has parked his car at Taunton station and is heading for Bristol. This allows his Mum the reassurance he’s safe and about to make his daily commute. (Anyone reading this, thinking ‘Soph, what a pathetic loser you are!’ I’ll take that. But I won’t change. I love my kids so much, I need to know they’re safe, in order to go about my day). I realise when marriage happens, this will have to stop! Lou’s future wife will hate me! Al has had to accept my ways, I know they irritate him! I’m now fretting over him too! I love him like a son-in-law, our relationship has grown and flourished…… I now worry about him and his diving hobby! I’m so relieved when he’s out the water and safe again. Yes, I will present myself the pathetic loser title!

After a 2 hour sleep the previous night, my body had no idea how it would cope with the day ahead. It just knew it had no choice. I drove back to Mum’s to pick her up, as she had an Indian Head massage booked. I thought it was reflexology, I was wrong, either way, she had an appointment. When I got to her house, she told me that one of their friend’s had phoned and offered to take her out. She’d thanked her, but refused. Brilliant! I really needed this help today. After I dropped her to her appointment, I gave this lady a ring and asked if the offer still stood. She said she’d pick her up at 2pm and she’d even get the Porsche out for a change, to give Mum a treat! (Wish I had a car, I got out for an occasional treat! I know Bugsy does too!). I was so grateful for this, as I didn’t have to juggle my parents for an afternoon.

I rang the home and they said what “a sweet gentleman” Dad is. They said he keeps apologising for asking for help, thanking them repeatedly. Standard. He’s scrumptious is my Dad. They said he’d been asking for me, so as I knew he had the Occupational Therapist going to visit him that morning, I told them I’d be there in the afternoon. The staff are so friendly and down to earth.

I picked Mum up and explained she was having a trip out to Budleigh, in the Porsche, for a coffee. She seemed unaffected by the fact that she wasn’t seeing Dad. Again, another sign of dementia taking hold. Previously, I’d have had to drag my Mum away from Dad if they became separated for any reason. I spent the whole morning on the phone to professional services. I’m realising that I cannot talk to family on the phone very easily anymore. I find the phone exhausting and now just connect it to speaking to professional services. I need face to face approach with my family.

The friend arrived, and I watched my excited Mum go off in the car. I then got loads of photographs together to take for Dad’s room. The home said photos are so important. They’re a talking point and a familiar. When I got to the home, my scrumptious Daddikins was sat in the spacious lounge. His face literally lit up when he saw me. My heart was happy. He stood up and announced to two Carers that this was “Our Sophie!” I will allow my Dad this ‘Sophie’ on this occasion, but only the once! Sophie is a name I relate to my childhood, when I’d been naughty….. I was probably called Sophie most of my early years! I allowed the absence of ‘Soph’ on this one occasion, bless him.

I suggested a walk around the grounds. It’s truly beautiful there. We linked arms and wandered along the lane. He asked how Mum was, but like Mum, seemed to appreciate the distance between them. Sad. I let my Dad lead the conversation. He asked if he could leave the home! I told him he was free to leave the home at any point, but I wouldn’t allow him to make that decision after one night. He accepted this. I fully appreciate that he was incredibly disorientated, trying to find his bearings, and his muddled mind was not playing ball. We were looking across the fields. He said “I’m so proud of you, Soph, you’re carrying us and this must be so hard for you.” I think this sentence will stick in my heart forever. I love this man so much. We walked back to the home and looked around the beautiful gardens. I then said he should try and have a nap. We went up to his light and airy room and sat down in the two chairs by the beautiful window. His eyes closed really quickly. I looked out of the window and wrote a poem as he slept. It was so peaceful, so calm, so spiritual.

My phone rang and it was Dad’s Occupational Therapist from the Rehabilitation Team. I sat on a chair outside Dad’s room. The radio was on downstairs, and a carer was sorting washing and singing. I really do feel this home chose us. It suits our energy and spirit. The OT hadn’t visited this home before and she said I’d picked a lovely place. She said the staff and the manager had been really great to her and discussed things they could do with my Dad. She’s a lovely person, again, I’m truly grateful for her support to my parents and I.

I left Dad at 4pm. He walked me out to the car. Then I told him to walk back into the home. As he was walking back in, a carer was leaving after her shift. She said bye to Dad, then looked at me and said “We love your Dad, he’s so sweet.” I love my Dad, and yes, he is sweet.

I felt compelled to drive to Whimple Crematorium. I’d sadly had to say goodbye to my comedy sidekick, Russ, 2 years ago there. He was cruelly taken from this world. My brother, Sacha, is buried in Southborne, I wish there wasn’t this distance. I needed to feel my Russ’ spirit around me. I sat in the car and let go of my tears. I was exhausted, I was scared and I felt vulnerable.

Our cousin, Bonnie, in Canada, had been given more devastating news about the cancer fighting her body. I had found this out during the morning and I had found it difficult to contain these tears, whilst spending time with Dad. These tears were much needed. Throughout my journey, Bonnie is on her own difficult journey. As the cancer steps up its attack on her body, I know Bonnie will step up her defence. She’s my absolute hero, I have a few heroes, and Bonnie is definitely one of them. She’d had to tell her two beautiful, young children that their amazing Mum had received more devastating news. My heart breaks for Bonnie, Dale and their kids. However, I know that she is a fighter and we will all see the day she can claim her glory over this weapon of mass destruction. She will be there to watch her children grow, she will have happy days again. I will single-handedly make her change her name from Bonnie Vickery to Bonnie Victory. I’ve told her this, she’s already aware of my name for her xxxxx

I got home and took my Evie for a walk. I didn’t feel emotionally strong at all. Thinking about my parents, thinking about Bonnie. Everything seemed too much.

I phoned my Dad’s consultant. Last week, during his home visit, he’d told me to ring him if I needed help. I needed help with my thoughts. I firstly apologised for the call, he told me not to apologise. I then presented him with my fears over my Dad’s current poor health. He confirmed all my suspicions. I don’t find how attuned I am right now to Dad very easy to handle. I knew I was right with my fears, it was hard to have confirmation from the professional. I’m very much a person in need of the whole picture, to deal with the smaller parts. The bigger picture prepares me for my journey. I’m leaving this bit here to discuss another day. Not today.

It would be fair to say that my poor husband arrived home from a long 10 hour shift, to my anger. I was vile to him as he walked through the door. I had 40 minutes before I needed to collect Mum to bring her to our house for dinner. I used these 40 minutes to let my anger over my parents’ and Bonnie’s situation out on my husband. He’s an incredible man and does not deserve my tears of frustration or my anger. But I still let him have it. Why? I don’t love me, but I love the people around me. My husband and my children are my everything. So why would I be channelling my anger towards my nearest and dearest, my rock of 32 years. He can’t control this. He hasn’t caused this. Why was I shouting at him? I know I was projecting. He was just there to take the hit. I hate myself for this. After cooking dinner, I just sat on the sofa and felt so overwhelmed by it all. Mum sat watching Joanna Lumley in Italy or somewhere, I couldn’t tell you, I wasn’t taking any of it in. Bugs was sat beside her, chatting to her. Hats was sat beside me, as Al was diving. I just sat there feeling completely overwhelmed, no other word for it.

Hats and Bugsy had told Mum earlier that night, that she had to stay at our house. Apparently, she wasn’t happy about it as wanted to sleep in her own place, but they had told her of my need for sleep. She agreed to stay. She slept in my spare room (Hats’ old room). Everybody who sleeps in there, always say they have a good night’s sleep. I’m sure my Aquarius leaves her sleep vibe there! My Parents-in-law spoke of their great sleep, whilst we were in Greece and they took care of my animals …. And my parents. My Mum slept all night from 10.30pm until 6.40am! She normally wakes for the loo in the night, but not last night. Evie slept on her bed beside her… Coupled with my daughter’s energy around the room, my Mum had a great sleep. I’m hoping she’ll agree to stay the week now, so I don’t have to go back to that bedroom at their house.

Today is a new day. I’ve apologised to my amazing husband. I’m channelling my frustrations into practical steps to getting my parents into a better situation at this time of their life. Not going to lie, I feel emotionally drained today, but one thing I am, is determined.

(Always find moments in difficult times of life, to appreciate humour. As I pulled into the crematorium at Whimple, the sign ‘Access for Funeral Cortège only’ gave me a much needed smile. Bless that unfit to drive, crazy Mama of mine!!) xxxxxxx

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2 thoughts on “Warning ! Long read. Sorry xxx

  1. Didnt have a chance to comment on your latest blog yesterday – I spent 6 hours in various queues at the Antiques Road show at Buckland Abbey (another story!). One sentence stood out: “I don’t love me, but I love the people around me”. I’m not surprised you wrote it – I probably would have done too. You are going through the wringer at the moment and, in some ways, you’re bound to feel like this. Your friends, including me, will tell you not to beat yourself up, you’re doing an amazing job, but it will be so hard to see beyond the day-to-day turmoil of emotions as you find a way through all these new challenges for your Mum and Dad.

    There will come a time when you will have the space to review these days and your response to them and I hope you will be able to take some comfort in knowing that you did the very best you could. In situations like this, the magic wand is just flippin’ impossible to find, so we have to do the best we can without it……..and, believe me, you’re doing a wizard job! Cut yourself some slack, if you can Soph, and love yourself a little for being the caring, loving daughter of wonderful people. xxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gini. As always, you offer great wisdom xx Today has been a tricky one. I do gain strength from the support around me, obviously you are very much included in that. I’m so grateful to have you in my small, but mighty circle.

      I’m glad the weather was kind during your jaunt to Buckland Abbey. Good job Bugsy didn’t know what you were doing. He might have taken me along to see if they could give him a price for me! It still wouldn’t stretch to buy his dream TVR I’m sure haha! All my love to you xxxxxxxxxxxx

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