Life has moved on from yesterday. There has been a slight tilt to my world and previous, precious, perspectives are askew. Change, which has been creeping slowly, undemandingly, unacknowledged, has screamed from across the realm, shaking me into the present, the future. Swallowing up and spitting out the nonchalence of my cosy, self indulgent cosmos.
Nothing bizarre has happened. There were no births marriages or deaths within my family circle. Nothing occurred which would be unfamiliar to many fellow bloggers. Some of whom have had to travel much further along the path upon which my family has just embarked.
Last night I was confronted with clear, undeniable, evidence of the deterioration of a loved one’s health. Although we have made some superficial allowances for minor frailty over the past year, the impact on lifestyle has been downplayed. My universe has not been inconvenienced. The implications of the aging process have been purely academic. I don’t have to witness the daily adjustments.
But yesterday my mother disclosed that my father had had a ‘wee turn’. His words were jumbled. His movements were uncontrolled. It was 10.30 in the evening. They were alone. He was frightened. She was frightened. He had his first TIA. Since it, he has been very shaky, unsteady on his feet. Uncertain of himself, feeling loss of confidence. He foresees his future – dependant, housebound, ill. He’s distressed and anxious lest the next time damage is more profound.
Today I’m at the start of the process described so scorchingly by many of you. The sweep of repercussions this will have, the claims on time. I’m recognizing, initially, how blase I have been in responding to existing signs of debility – affording an aging mother little respite from the burden of her current caring role. And the added imperative to offer support sensitively, possibly covertly.
This is a path well trod by those of you living amidst chronic illness. By those of you who have already had to accept the compromises brought by health impairment. For me – it’s the next stage. Pay back time for care selflessly given. Face to face with the reality of aging and the descent into infirmity.