This week can be summed up in one word… Multifarious! I feel I’ve lived every emotion during these past seven days!
Thursday marked a year to the day that my Dad had his horrendous stroke. Complete life changer. What better way to get through this day and the memories of last year, than to be a child at Thorpe Park! When I was offered the chance of a 13 hour day with our year 10’s and three other staff members, I was hardly going to refuse! I’ve not been to Thorpe for at least ten years, so it was long overdue. Perksie and I did not stop talking, laughing… and eating sweets all day. It was so good for the soul. The roller coasters seem to feel even more exhilarating when you get older. Why is that? I suggest it’s because we have more life experience under our belt; We fall into the trap of chasing tomorrow and not indulging the present moment. Therefore, appreciate the thrill-seeking even more. On Thursday, I was certainly living in the moment, being present and living my inner child’s best day! I could talk to Perksie for hours and hours…. And I did! He’s Head of Geography at our school and a total twat… That’s why we get on so well!! Xxx
On Friday, we had to say Goodbye to some incredible staff, who leave for pastures new. I honestly felt I was living the entire twelve months of my life during that two hour assembly. The minute a couple of girls began to sing, my tears began rolling … What an emotional plonker! One of the people who left, Jen, had been an incredible friend to me. She was one of the people who interviewed me two years ago. I instantly loved this woman! She’s my kind of crazy. I was dreading letting myself down and being a complete idiot during her presentation … I lived up to all my expectations… and howled like a baby. I’m going to allow myself this. Why hide an emotion you feel consumed by? Jen has now left Axe, but she hasn’t left my life … Unless she runs … Then I will hunt her down!
I feel that during the last seven months, I’ve really found my feet back in my role as TA. In January, I returned, still broken and still uncertain that I’d made the right decision to return to work. By March, I really did begin to realise just how important my job is, whilst on this tricky journey with my Golden Oldies. I had considered giving up work to care for my parents, and trying to finish my degree that I got halfway through eight years ago. With respect to the degree, I’ve got nothing to prove to myself. I enjoyed the essays and studying, but I have no personal need to achieve the end goal any longer. With respect to my parents, my TA job allows me to settle back into the role of their daughter. Late last year, I had lost so much of myself. I truly feel that I’m back to being my stupidly energetic self. It’s amazing to have something familiar back in my life, whilst my parents are anything but familiar now. So grateful for my job and the self-preservation it provides.
We had our end of term drinks on Friday. The people I work with are just such a lovely lot …. And many of them, like me, are bonkers! It’s an amazing team. Again, I’m very fortunate to be part of it. I made sure I partied in true Sophster style, I didn’t disappoint myself haha! (I hope!).
With the six weeks ahead, I am concerned that the Mothership will increase her demands… This was certainly apparent today… “Soph, now you’re off, you’ll be able to do more for us!” Truth be told, I feel I do so much already! However, my Mum is no longer in a position to appreciate what my family and I do.
When Bugs, Hats and I arrived at my parents’ home, we were met by an extremely low, unhappy and unsettled Dad. I cannot begin to describe how this made me feel. It completely floors me to see Dad aware of his deterioration. I would argue with anyone that it is far easier to see a loved one unaware of their lack of cognition. Today, Dad was tearful, sad and very vulnerable. I hate these days. It fills me with a complete sense of helplessness and heartache.
I make an effort to take as many photos as I can. People might question why I do this. Honestly, I don’t care what they think. My parents still look like my parents, just with faraway glances. Just because they both have tangled brains, doesn’t mean I should give up the photos. This returns to the idea of living in the moment, and a picture is a frozen image of that precious moment.
When we visit, we try our best to allow my parents to be independent. My Dad will always offer us a cup of tea. It would be a lot easier for us to make our own drinks. However, it’s good to see Dad carry out a habitual routine, regardless of the fact that it often proves difficult. Today was no exception. As he went to pour the milk, he lost balance and poured it all over the worktop. As I rushed to help him, his first reaction was concern that Mum had seen it. He was so anxious of her reaction. I cannot be at my parents’ day and night, but it worries me sick that tempers run high when it’s just the two of them. Again, this leaves my Dad vulnerable as my Mum’s Dementia is far more volatile than Dad’s. Fifty six years of marriage, a beautifully equal partnership, and I’m now worrying what happens when they’re alone. I fuckin hate Dementia and its total disregard for dignity.
As the five of us sat around their dining table, I began to get Dad to discuss what was happening in his head today. He once again said “Soph, this is not the place for me anymore.” Being very much a fight or flight sort of person, I immediately started to brainstorm respite. If I left my parents in this vulnerable situation, I would dread any dangerous ramifications in doing so. My hubby, on the other hand, is far more able to weigh it all up first before reacting. His job allows him this, but he has always had this ability ever since we were children. He’s annoyingly amazing, but I love the bugger! He suggested we leave it until tomorrow before we look into respite. I’ve had my fingers burnt so often; arranging respite for Dad, then at a moment’s notice, my Mum has managed to manipulate him in to staying. This has then left me with the awkward task of ringing the home to cancel Dad’s stay.
When your Dad, your hero, is sat looking so totally lost in a world he’s not happy in, it’s utterly heartbreaking. I was swallowing back tears, determined to not let him see the extent of my sadness. My Mum was completely oblivious to the whole situation. My beautiful daughter was giving me her usual comforting touch. As I sat at that table, I felt the only person whom I could really show my tears to was my hubby. Throughout this journey, I’m constantly aware of the impact this has on Hats and Lou. I don’t want them to see their Mum a broken mess, I want to be a strong example for them. My twenty-three year old was, as always, offering words of wisdom. Just so proud of her generous and selfless heart.
Today, more than any other day, I found myself repeating my Dad’s words he has instilled in me all my life. When he was apologising for not being happy today, I began to quote all the life lessons he has taught me. “Be kinder to yourself” seemed to be the most apt one today. There I was trying to be the grown-up daughter attempting to share my beloved Dad’s wisdom … With my Dad! Trying to be firm with Mum and not allow her to talk over Dad. Trying to be strong in front of my baby girl. Just generally trying!!! All the wisdom our parents impart over the years is then given back to them in their hour of need. It really is a cyclical process.
I’ve allowed my tears today, its healthy. I feel stronger again tonight. Love my hubby so much. He has been there to weather this storm today.
My Lou returns from Greece tonight…… I’m hoping he takes his Muvva to the skatepark before he returns to work later this week. My roller skates need a good, old burnout!
I will upload this blog to my Faceache page. However, I’m not eliciting a response. Just knowing that people take the time to read my blog amazes me. I have such amazing people in my life. I know who you all are. xxxxxxxxxxxx