Another stumble in life

Having an elderly parent there is always a degree of fear lurking at the back of your mind, this is one more.

The darkening skies from the ever-present shadow of death drew the horizon a little closer on this particular day. As if she knew it was coming, an increasingly vacant stare out to that encroaching gloom was beginning to cause some concern to both care staff and visiting family alike.

Through years of a naturally failing health, a certain amount had to be chalked up to human frailty in form and frame but at approaching 90 years of age, more and more was being accepted as just inevitable. The recurring factor was the distancing of response, no questions, no general chat just functional answers to repetitive enquiries each more difficult to pose under the circumstances.

It had all been seen before and to some extent was just part of it, life, another set of pills and signs of improvement would hopefully encourage a lift from the malaise that was more difficult to watch then endure; that was my ardent hope anyway.

The late-night telephone call to say that the paramedics were making their assessment pushed things over the edge, falling from mild concern to the unthinkable consequence; that day would come all too soon, it didn’t need heralding.

The guilt of no meaningful transport quashed all possibility of sleep but the drone of a voiceless television at lease created some distraction from the unknown possibilities. The phone just sat there bursting with silence, waiting for you to look away before it dealt its flavoured news and blind gamble; would it be sweet or sour. You hoped for the sweet but in some quiet corner you could accept the sour.

Tasteless moist toast that grated in a tired throat was coughed down as the harsh ringing was perfectly ill-timed.

Another water infection only extending up to the kidneys this time would no-doubt mean weeks of hospital visits to a mind that was in some other dimension for the duration until the medical marvels worked their magic and once more life was preserved forcing the shadow to retreat once more towards the horizon, only not as far this time to continue its watch over a known but unacknowledged future; who could say if was right or even fair.


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