Sunday, 16 October 2011

Catching Up

Good evening,

well, since I was here last, a lot of cups of chamomile tea have been partaken of! I cannot tell you how much coming here and reading your kind and thoughtful comments has helped me. I have good news to share, that Dad is at home again now, although that in itself was filled with tribulations. He seems to be stable at the moment, but I cannot help but think that it is going to be something of a winding road. Understandably, my little brother is finding it hard to deal with things, and Dad is sad and a bit bewildered that he isn't really talking to him....not in a 'I'm not talking to you' way, but just in a 'I have had too much to cope with and I don't know what to say' kind of way. Mum says that he is trying which is good, but she is finding that it isn't enough to make everything else go away. I think it is one of those things, that old but true saying, that everyone needs time.

We have not got care packages sorted out yet, but they are in the works, so hopefully that will help ease the pressure on everybody. I know I don't live with him day in and out and so am removed from some of the wearing-down, but I do feel sad for him. Ok, so he hasn't done a lot to help himself in the past, but a lot of this he can't help, and it doesn't seem fair to be cross with him over it. Although I do see that it isn't as simple as people being 'cross' with him, but just being worn down.

I feel so sad that he has not had a better life. He was born just before the first war, one of three brothers to parents who were not well off at all, and had married without their parents approval. They lived in a cottage in a village, the woods were their back garden, and there were greengage trees in the garden. But his Mum had schizophrenia, which little was known about back then. I seem to remember a half whispered story overheard when I was little, that she had once been in trouble for taking someone's coat, which was likely a mistake or a result of her illness. Again, I half remember Dad saying that other children in the playground would chant 'Your Mum's a lunatic' at them. He was dyslexic, left handed, and not good at school. He did his national service on Cyprus, and came top in a course about cleanliness and hygiene...I think that was the first time he has been good at something, but sadly, it led to a lifetime obsession with cleanliness, and phobias about germs.

He married a Filipino nurse when he was in thirties, and with her had my step brother. She was not a particularly nice person, and after they married it emerged that she had children from previous relationships. She ran up debts and left him. After bringing up their son alone, he met my Mother, and she, me and my sister moved in. Some years later, my step brother chose to go and live with his Mother, which I think nearly broke Dad's heart. Then Nana's schizophrenia started to get worse and worse, and it emerged that Grandad had developed alzheimers, and was forgetting to give Nana her medication. They both went into care, declined slowly, and died. Happily my little brother was too little to remember much of this.

He has never enjoyed good health, and while many of his complaints and problems have been genuine, such as when he had heart surgery, he has also been guilty of being a little bit of a hypochondriac, but then I wonder if the only way he got attention as a smaller child was when he was ill.

So that is it, really. I did not mean to share quite so much, but it is quiet here, the lights are low, and sometimes, when you start to explain things, the words flow from your fingers, and suddenly, you are making sense of things for yourself as well.

So thank you for listening. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mimi, so sorry to read about your Dad. They certainly were very hard times back then and so many people had similar circumstances.... my own Dad included. I will keep your family in my prayers and I am sure things will improve again. Love reading your blog so much. Please post yr email address so I can email you.....Hugs Cookie xx

Dinahsoar said...

We all mostly do the best we can and hope we are making wise choices. Sometimes it is only the passage of time and events revealing that we didn't. Had we known we may have chosen differently. But foreknowledge is not available to us so we choose and hope for the best, dealing with the results as they come.

Your dad has probably done the best he could. I think hypochondria is often connected to fear and somehow we think by taking extra precautions we can prevent some bad things happening to us. I imagine growing up with a mother who was mentally ill was not easy. And the taunts he endured from other children left their mark.

At this late time in his life he needs love and acceptance and as much comfort as is possible to endure the rest of life.

In helping him to be at peace you will find peace as well, and when he is gone there will be no regrets in your memory bank.

He is blessed to have you for a daughter.

midorigreen said...

I do think it is important to talk about such things. Some things are better left unsaid or are too painful to discuss but if the sigma attached to mental health issues is ever to be go then talking and sharing is the only way forward.