Friday, July 15, 2011

Written on March 7th 2011, Arthur's Last View of the Sea.

The physiotherapist visited today. As she only is on-site on Monday's, this is the first time she has been able to assess him. Up until now Arthur had been in bed, as the hospital report suggested he was too weak to bear weight.

She is very good, we massaged Arthur's legs with a heat-rub cream and moved them around to warm up his joints. With the help of another care-assistant, Arthur was able to briefly stand, before sitting back down in a wheelchair. He stood up three times before finally laying back down on the bed.

The physiotherapist advised that Arthur would need to be transferred by a hoist for a the first week, to get his body used to assuming various positions and bearing the weight-transfers. They got him up and out of bed with a hoist and body sling, into a Princess air-chair. Arthur sat in the front day room where he could see the ocean. This must be the first time Arthur has seen the sea in at least five years.

He seemed very comfortable in the air-chair and went to sleep. Later I took him onto the front verandah which overlooked Semaphore Beach. A warm day with a cool sea breeze, the sun reflected off the slight choppy water like a million mirror shards tossing on the surface. The air smelled of salt and, while he slept beside me,  I listened again to Arthur's voice in my mind, "There is nothing like sea-air, it does you the world of good."

I suppose now that is how it will always be, the voices of the ones who are gone will come back, a scene, a sound, a smell, I wonder for how long that will happen. Always, is my guess. We used to go to those lovely beaches in Adelaide, including, in past years, the famous Maslin's Beach, not the ordinary end, but the bit way up the end of the cove, accessible by either a long walk along the sand or about a half-mile of winding wooden walkways down the cliffs.

We would get to the sign warning of imminent entrance to the Unclad Beach. Down in the sparkling white sands and beautiful water. At at last we could be free of all trappings and swim as free as dolphins, and sun-bake amongst people for whom modesty was the ultimate practice, where you see but do not see and the body has no sexual meaning. I have never felt safer, freer, more respected or happier than on that beach, as natural as the surroundings we enjoyed. This was a precious gift Arthur gave to me.

I am sitting with him now on the verandah and the breeze is gaining strength, and Arthur saw the clouds on the ocean's horizon and told me that a storm may be brewing.

You can take the sailor out of the sea but not the sea out of the sailor!

I can see that the grasses on the sand-dunes, planted to stabilize them, are well grown and look hardy. The Lags Jetty just up the street is one Arthur took me and my children to a number of times and, I would love to take him back there. If I can get his electric wheelchair here, I will try that, maybe with Jason to help. It would be a short ride down the street to get there. If Arthur ever has to go into a nursing home, I want it to be one like this, by the sea, but I hope it never comes to that.

Watching the ocean is so relaxing. I wish I had the wealth to be able to put Arthur into somewhere like this for a couple of days a week, regularly.

As I watch the sea my best friend's words come back to me. Having just lived through the trauma of putting her mother, who has dementia, into a nursing home, Jill reminded me that what is happening to Arthur is natural. It is part of life.

The oceans are also natural, the tides come and go, and never stop.

We cannot halt them, we can just take into our self the solace and comfort they provide.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sandra, he always called me SAHn-drAH.

My best friend helped me out when I was feeling low. Jill is a wonderful friend. I give thanks for Jill, my friend,.

This sad time has opened big emotions for everyone. For my middle son, he suffers the effects of emotional trauma, for his two brothers, anger. They turned on him and castigated him for his faults, of which he has quite a few. There is no doubt his faults, which stem from his sad feelings, low confidence and self-centredness, impact on the rest of the family. However, the others were not here to see him rise to the circumstances, in ways which they did not. They shied away from the sadness and tragedy that unfolded, and my middle son bore the brunt. My daughters too, I kept most of it from them. My eldest daughter had already broken contact with me four years ago so there was nothing to say to her and, anyway, she lives overseas. For my youngest, I needed to shield her from it, and as she lives interstate it was easy to tell her little.

My other two sons spent this last weekend in furious electronic communication with me, trying to get me to drop my middle son in favour of them, citing his behaviour, The eldest son did some distressing things, including distributing photos of my middle son's messy house. It was messy in part because of the trauma of the burdens of the situation, and his brother's action caused great embarrassment and hurt. I helped my middle son to start seeing a counsellor, and just as he was starting to make progress, he was traumatised again by his brothers' rejection.

My Mother is shocked at my two sons' behaviour and tells me to ignore them until they wake up to themselves.

Neither of those two of my sons seem concerned with my immediate welfare. They think my long-term prospects are better if I am not trying to help their brother, but all they did was hurt and traumatise me. It unleashed a wave of grief and loneliness which took me days to control.

I am still fragile. I miss Arthur, I just want to hold him again. I want him to talk to me again. I want to hear him say 'Sandra' in that High English or Italian way he always did, "SARn-drAH'; Sandra and Arthur,

I am tired. I have withdrawn from my university subject and I will take it up later,

For now, I need rest.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Is it better to fight against a sea of troubles...

I feel so bad, that if it wasn't for the dogs, I would rather join Arthur than go on.