The stark reality that is my life

Oktober 20, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Unpacked some of my mother’s clothes today. We packed their house up just over a year ago, and although all the boxes meant for me arrived here in early December, I couldn’t get myself so far to unpack the personal stuff. Sometimes, especially lately, I force myself not to think about her too much. Maybe I’m scared of what will surface, and I can’t afford to fall apart right now.

Of course it doesn’t stop my subconscious mind to think of her, so lately I have had quite a few dreams about her. Shortly after her death I mostly dreamt about her telling me that I must help her pack for my dad, because he’s coming with me. Or going to my brother in Windhoek. And then, of course, I am utterly confused, but before I can debate all of this with her, I wake up.

Lately the dreams are different. I can’t recall them exactly, but now my dad is living with me (which he is) or my responsibility (which he also is) while the two of us are somewhere in a strange place with Mom. And then she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him, simply telling me that she is busy with something else. And then she dissapears.

Today, when I opened the first box and lifted out the first dress, I smelt her. A mixture of Red Door-perfume, and Mom. Something that I can’t put my finger on: clean washing, a clean house, moth balls, Lux soap… But a comforting smell. Like being home again, walking into what used to be my bedroom.

I remember the raw sadness shortly after the accident. I had to be strong for my kids, while my whole world changed in an instant. I am a very tactile person, and the fabric of what I am wearing is almost as important as what I am wearing, especially when I am sad or stressed. I slept in Mom’s pyjamatop for weeks, drawing a strange kind of comfort from that.

A part of me is glad that she died, simply because she wouldn’t have been able to witness my dad’s deteriorating health. Four hours before she died on that dusty road in Namibia, she still told my brother that it scares her how fast my dad is aging, and that she never wanted to be so old and so frail. Four hours later she didn’t have that worry anymore.

Another part of me is very, very sad. I still had so many things to tell her, even though she could make me so very, very mad. I miss her phone calls at 17h00 every Saturday more than what I would admit to anybody. I miss her homemade jam – I don’t even like jam, but ate hers. Last week I discovered a bottle of grape jam that she and my dad cooked in April last year. I opened it, and told my dad what he was eating. It made absolutely no impression on his failing mind.

My mom would have turned 75 on Friday. Maybe that’s why I am so sad lately.  Next week, on the 30th, I am being honoured by the FAK with a prestige award for my contribution to Afrikaans journalism. Mom would have been so proud. I almost turned out a failure, marrying the wrong man and never using my degree, or for that matter, my brain. So, when I started writing 11 years ago, and made it into the bigger magazines four years or so ago, she was SO proud of me. The way only a mother can be. Telling anybody else about the award simply doesn’t have the same effect. And my dad doesn’t even register what a huge honour it is.

I also decided to try and get my dad into an old-age home with frail care facilities. Despite having the nursing aides, this is getting too much for me. Having to constantly consider him before myself or my children, isn’t fun anymore. Coping with him if one of the helpers simply don’t pitch, is becoming increasingly difficult. Because of all the intimate things I have to do for him. It’s not normal to have to do that for your own dad.

It breaks me to be the one to make that decision. I hope I don’t have to go through with it, that he can just quietly slip away and go to my mom before I have to be the bitch that dumps him in an old-age home. Even though I will go and see him daily, his confused mind might not understand that.

The Parkinsons seem to be affecting his throat muscles more and more. One has to be watching him when he eats or drinks coffee, as he has almost choked a few times. He only eats half a slice of bread for supper, and if I give him more, he throws it to the dogs.

Also, having him here and my first priority, is not fair on my two beautiful kids anymore. Even though they are real troupers, always understanding that Oupa comes first, I know they need me more than what I can offer them at the moment. The three of us only have each other, as their dad is a complete egosentric asshole that always gets their hopes up, only not to come through on his promises. And apparently my mister Right is still in the factory. Or on the drawing board…

But what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, or so they say. Sometimes I just want to send an e-mail to God to say that I think I’m strong enough for now, thanks very much…

4 antwoorde op The stark reality that is my life

  1. In die eerste plek, Baie geluk met die toekenning. Dit is fantasties!
    Ten tweede weet ek waardeur jy gaan. Ek het ook so van my pa en ma gedroom en dit het my rustig gemaak. My pa is al 21 jaar gelede oorlede en ons moes ook toe my moederliefde siek word die besluit neem om haar in ‘n versorgingseenheid te plaas. Dit is nie ‘n maklike besluit nie maar dit moes gedoen word want hulle het al die kennis en die middele. Ons het eers ‘n verpleegster gekry om saam met my ma in haar huis te bly maar dit het nie gewerk nie. Ek was die hele tyd onrustig gewees.Ek moet ook byvoeg dat alhoewel ons my ma toe in ‘n versorgingseenheid geplaas het, het ek die hele tyd skuldig gevoel daaroor. Tot vandag toe maar dit kon nie anders nie. Sterkte vir jou hoor. Snaaks genoeg het my moederliefde ook Red Door gebruik!

    Tydelik het al 11 jaar geword. My man werk vir die United Nations ek ek by die Ambassade. Sy kontrak is tot 2011 en dan gaan ons terug SA toe. Kan nie wag nie!

  2. Dankie Poppie! Dit help dat iemand verstaan.

  3. Baie mense sal met jou kan identifiseer. Dit is nie ‘n maklike besluit wat jy moet neem nie… en dis baie eerbaar dat jy bereid was/is om jou siek vader te versorg, maar jy is reg. Jou jong kinders is eerste prioriteit en ek is seker dat indien jou Pa die besluit moes neem, hy dieselfde vir jou sou gese het. Geen ouer wil graag afhanklik wees van hul kinders nie. Dit voel mos maar net dat dit andersom behoort te wees. Moenie skuldig voel nie. Jy doen dit omdat jy vir jou pa lief is en ook twv jou kinders. Dit is die belangrikste. Baie sterkte!

  4. Thanks guys!! Every once in a while a little pity-party really helps.

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