Clinging on to the past.

I feel so melancholy right now. As I write that word, I can hear Meryl Streep singing that song in Mamma Mia!!!! Love that woman, and love that film. Especially the Greek backdrop!!

I keep being told by family members, namely Hats and Bugs, that I’ve got to start leaving my parents to try and look after themselves for a while. They both feel that I’ve got to do this to enable myself to return to work. Yes, my parents have become reliant on me during these last 12 weeks, however, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. Yesterday, I left them to it for the morning. When Evie and I got there in the afternoon, Mum said they’d walked to town and back. She will not use the bus. There is a bus stop at the top of their road. It’s a fairly lengthy walk to town from their house. I now feel like I’m back in my old role as an Enabler. I used to take out young adults, with special needs, and we’d do a lot of ‘bus work’ to get them used to public transport. I feel I’m going to have to do this with my parents over the next couple of weeks, if I’ve got any hopes of going back to my job.

Dad said they’d seen a lady they know, in town. He told me that she’d said how much weight he’d lost. This obviously had upset him, “I don’t need to hear it, Soph, how does this help me?.” I completely agree with him. I’ve brought my kids up to pay people compliments, not insults. If I see that someone doesn’t look quite themselves, I’ll make every effort to compliment them on what they’re wearing etc. When we feel shit, why do we need reminding of it? Truth is, my Dad has lost a lot of weight during these last 3 months. The trauma of the stroke is written all over his face. He eats really well, yet has lost weight. This concerns me, but I’d never think of telling him. Our job, as humans, is to raise others’ spirits surely?

With the September sunshine in full force, I suggested we had a walk at Branscombe, another popular haunt of theirs. The trees were all beautiful with the Autumn hues. As we walked from the village hall down to the beach, I was watching my parents walking. Dad, again, was very quiet. This silence is difficult, it’s an unfamiliar.

When we got to the beach, we bought a drink and sat outside on one of the benches. There was a family sat beside us. It was two Grandparents, a couple and their toddler. It brought back so many memories for me. One memory in particular… Hats was similar age to this little girl beside us. Mum, Dad and I had taken her to Branscombe for the day, as Clive was working. Hats, the toddler, was holding onto this huge apple for dear life. She was running around on the grass, clinging to this apple. Mum had taken so many photos on this day. Mum has always retold the day that Hats, in her little blue sundress would not stop holding this apple. I was talking about it, whilst sat at the table yesterday. My Mum couldn’t remember this memory, this broke me. The young Mum was bouncing her little girl on her lap, my eyes were filled with tears. She looked over at me and I told her that I was reminiscing. She gave me a knowing smile.

Mum started to tell me how they’d found some old letters that Dad had sent her when she was working in London, and Dad was at Teacher Training College. Hat and I had already discovered these letters recently, but I kept quiet and just listened. She was saying how she had been laughing at how Dad had addressed the envelopes all those years ago… “I Miss M. Goddard…. I Miss M. Goddard even more.” My Dad has always been the hopeless romantic, bless him. Mum was saying how they’d be sorting through things. I quickly told her to not throw any of these letters out!

I hate clutter, but my loft tells another story. In my loft, I’ve got every letter Bugs and I ever wrote to each other, as children. All Hats and Lou’s toys…… Future Grandchildren please!!! I’m passionate about hoarding memories. So the thought of my Mum “sorting through bits,” completely filled me with dread. I’m hoping she remembers these letters need to be kept, I have told her that I’ll put them in my loft with my archive of memories!

As we walked back from the beach, along the path, my Dad was shuffling. He looked so tired. My Dad, like me, has always survived on lots of energy. His energy stores are now so depleted. He has always been so energetic and so much younger than his years. This stroke has completely robbed him of this youthfulness. I’m struggling today, but will allow myself this. A down day can sometimes be productive, as these days are the days you make it your mission to sort your head out and refocus.

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