At the moment, life for us is pretty much take each day at a time. My father is still currently with us and obviously we are hoping this continues for as long as possible, providing he is still getting something out of life. We have been very blessed in recent days and weeks that when we have been in to see him pretty much every day there has been something to laugh about, and/or he has enjoyed and ice cream or been happy watching a DVD (he liked ‘Dunkirk’ a lot, and I’m very happy he has been able to see it, albeit on the tiny screen of the portable DVD player that he bought himself after his stay in hospital in 2011 and had entirely forgotten about until I came across it while looking for something entirely different; it has been a definite Godsend). When we left him today he was in the midst of binging on ‘Sharpe’, engrossed in the antics of a youthful Sean Bean as the dodgy eponymous anti-hero. We had thought that the entire box set would keep him happy for quite a while but we’re now looking for more of the same to keep him from getting bored.
What is happening is terribly sad, and we are just about manging to juggle other commitments -both to work and where we can to ourselves. But ultimately, we know this is for a season only, and likely not a long one, so we are taking every positive and building on those as preparation for the times that are inevitable and coming. We all have many things to be thankful for. As well as the joy of seeing him smile, and the opportunity to say what needs to be said – most which we have now ticked the boxes both ways so I won’t ever be hit by the ‘I wish I had told him…’ scenario, we have been blessed by sharing some special moments; he had an oasis of feeling well over Christmas, a final time at home; we have shared both his birthday and mine, with cake. Outside of visiting we have had time to walk around parts of the North East that have brought back memories of my childhood for me and introduced the Lovely Wife to some of the things that I have talked about in the past or have had impact on my development and thus given her valuable insights I think into certain aspects of weirdness in my character. In particular it was interesting for me to visit old holiday haunts such as the windswept coast at Blyth, where my grandmother had a caravan and therefore I was packed off for several October half terms. The caravan site is gone now; as have the bookshops I used to delight in, and the newsagent where I found to my surprise and delight a copy of issue 3 of Doctor Who Weekly (my eight-year-old self – this was 1979 – had no idea such a thing existed, and I’ve still got a subscription to the magazine in its current form) has at some point become a hairdressing salon. And when trying to find the Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men sculpture in nearby Ridley Park (no one knows why, they were just there) I was downhearted to not find them anywhere. But I was not giving up and when I noticed someone in the Friends of Ridley Park building, a polite knock and inquiry delivered the desired result. The rather grotesque ‘sculptures’ that I remembered as a child were in fact safe and well inside the very building for safe keeping and brought out for charity events. So not all of my childhood is entirely limited to my own head it seems. And, another justification for never giving up