in my orange peel recliner (built for good looks and bad backs alike) I percolate and inwardly bubble with empty fire of this second coffee steaming within this freshly brewing new day.
I am waiting for the next installment. The kettle to cool for the phone to call, for that burst of new light upon my parents dance trip and fall within the chaotic rhythms of multi-infarct-come-Alzheimer’s dementia.
A mixed picture indeed. An avalanche waiting to be side-stepped, to be witnessed on this hands free phone, 250 miles away from her tightly constrained stress and his unsteady brain freed body.
Yesterday, she was able to talk for a few moments. He had slept through the night for the first time in 3 days. She had stayed up, despite her own extreme sleep deprivation, driven to make sure he was still dry, still breathing. That he was resting, breathing, not wet, not………dead.
Still dry, still breathing, still……. not…….. dead.
Still dry, still not………. breathing, still….. my guilt, still…….. my awful thoughts that he’s still………not………. dead.
Of course, these thoughts, these fears are unspoken between us. Obtuse and hidden but constantly nagging within the haze of his and hers and my heart.
This wonderful, kind, supportive, generous and knowledgeable man reduced to this…..
This fear of his continued relentless demeaning demise, this disintegration, this nearness to wetness and discarding of all to dust and separation.
All of this oozes through the telephone wire.
All of this and more, spumes into my earpiece and swallows dark lumps into the pit of my soul.
This lack of control, this inability to stop the march of his illness, to be able to support her caring, to know how to discharge my role as distant, eldest son, all this and much much more lodges layers of grey bubbling silt deep into my stomach, rests large lumps of darkness deeper, deeper still….
Still breathing……still waiting to breathe once more…….and much much more….. for freshness and clean clear cut boundaries, for release of pain and deep gulps of air…. and
And I miss the content of her words, her brief briefing of the past day’s events.
As soon as I notice my drift into the stereoscopic cotton wool of my own self spun anxiousness, I try to re-waken to her voice, to clear my eardrums, to be there for her, but I fear I am again too late
‘Got to go darling,’ I hear her say,
‘He’s up again, holding himself. He’s wandering and fiddling and I think he needs the loo, best catch it before it’s too late again…….
Speak tomorrow darling, anytime after 11, hey?’
And now after my own spacious brand of sleeplessness, it is that ‘anytime after 11’ time, it is that tomorrow, it is that pulsing immediacy where and I am once again tragically, pathetically reluctant to pick up and phone home, and so…..
I pour myself into the much easier task of re-boiling the kettle once more.