Wired support.

Sitting here

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.


Emerging within this new day

And so, a different approach to curating this moment by moment life. I write in a soft blur that comes while emerging from an ear ringing, heart pumping early morning meditation.

I have been staying at my parents rented flat over the past weekend. This is a pause before the 200 mile journey back to my own home town, a time to spend reflecting on the experience of writing this blog over the past few months. A time to digest the emotional impact if these past three days.

I would love to taste, to express a more inclusive spontaneous and free-flowing life. Something somehow, more precious, right now.

Maybe this blog can help with my aim of opening my heart to whatever  flowers and withers within my vista.

November and December saw me meet an exhaustion of body spirit and mind that  although well masked, drove grey tiredness into the very centre of my bones. I have not written here during this time.

Sitting here on this first day of 2018, with the starlings and woodpigeon calling from the exposed rafters in  the adjacent, half finished buildings, with my parents asleep and relaxed in their bedroom, with the boats rocking gently in the grey-green marina directly outside this second floor flat window, I can sense a peacefulness tinged with the fizz of apprehension and the unknown.

Will they be able to stay here? Will they be separated by dint of ill health and old age creeping upon them at different rates? Will I be able to live up to my mums expectation of being able to sort out the social work assessment and  unravel the financial implications of increasing care needs?

It seems that my dear step dad will, probably, need residential or nursing care quite soon. Yesterday he could walk and hold a knife and fork and was content to spend hours   sleeping lopsidedly in his old leather chair. The day before he was fighting the wonderful, humble and gentle carer as she tried to wash him and change his pad, he was unable to work out how to unlock his knee joints to sit down and had developed a yellowish-blue tinge that seem ominously, unspokenly sad.

And now, with the scorched grass on the distant mud flats beginning to recover from last nights wind driven bonfire, with the plastic corks and purple glitter, with the party hats and burnt out firework casings absorbing the damp still pavements and walkways, I gaze out beyond these floor-to-ceiling triple glazed upvc windows and wonder what this year has in store.


Disconnecting love

My dearest step dad sleeps and barely speaks.

My tired mother has shrunken further into the role of carer.

It is indeed a painful joy to visit them this week.

Only four months ago I was shaken by a decline, that now seems like a time of erudite conversation.

After that visit I wrote the following:


Edward and Mrs Jones

He gently asks his wife of 31 years

‘excuse me

but do I have a bed for tonight?’

No longer sharing evening TV

dinner soaps

picking at his food with bare fingers

he smiles at her or

un-certainly launches a friendly face in

that direction.

‘Do you remember who I am?’ asks

my mother

that she, that other sitting

and eating there

all by herself in the distance.

‘Yes, I think I do’

and they return smiles within a

pause of concerned and bemused


Looking above his half rim specs

‘I think,’ he says

‘a long time ago

we probably

had sex


‘Oh good God’

silently with pierced heart my

mother tries to start, to start,

to restart them both.

Showing him a recent

anniversary card upon the table

‘there, there,

there,’ she says

‘look at it then,

it says grandma and dad, step-dad,

father and mum,


31 years gone by,

see, that’s you and

that’s me.’


‘Oh yes,’ he says

‘um yes

very nice indeed


very pleasant.’

And brushing the embossed lettering

he says,

‘hard with things on it.’


‘Yes my love it’s our anniversary

card,’ she says, ‘remember?’


And after staring into the far

cornicing for another split second of

for ever, he adds

‘excuse me’

placing the card to one side

‘but I must go now,


looking for a bed



‘Yes, ok Ed let’s go do that’

and Mrs Jones stands taller than she

has been all day.


‘Come along then my soldier,’

he hears that other person say

‘let’s go wash your face and brush

your teeth hmmm?

before I have to send you on your



‘Yes,’ he says, beaming within her

sing song voice

‘I used to put happy on my…

here,’ he says rubbing bristles and


‘yes put happy

happy, and go out, out’

Eds points to a place beyond joint

pain and yellowed teeth.

‘Are you talking about aftershave my


‘Yes, happy,’ and reach, reach

reaching to stroke her face

‘happy, on here.’

‘Yes, yes my dear,

I remember that too, but

your breath stinks, so

it’s off to the bathroom

and then beddy-byes for you