first post 2021
I'm not there now, as I type this post I'm in our parents' house tidying-up accumulated debris collected over a lifetime. This is an exaggeration as most of the stuff could be considered worthwhile, there's just so much of it and I have come to realise in my line of business that we humans have a tendency to hold on to too much.
Our dad's first weekend of the new year was not a success. Most probably he suffered a stroke in the middle of the night. He cannot tell us what happened. The home care nurse arrived early in the morning and found him on the upstairs landing wearing two pairs of pyjamas, two pairs of socks, wrapped in his dressing gown (at least he wasn't cold). He had no recollection of why he was lying there and was extremely confused. Long story short I dropped everything to travel south to stay with him, as he needed 24 hour care. A night nurse was arranged, my sister joined me and we tried to look after him as best we could but soon realised we couldn't. He was placed on an emergency-list by his GP and after one-and-a-half weeks was admitted to a nursing home in Valkenburg, a short train ride away from his home. Due to Covid visits are extremely limited, we started with two visitors for two hours a day and are now reduced to one visitor a day, for two hours. He seems to be okay, he's asleep most of the time, is not in pain. He can hear you (when he's awake) but conversation is difficult so I ask questions to which he only has to say 'yes' or 'no'
I just sit most of the time I'm there, with not a lot to say I realise.
For the foreseeable future I'll be here a few days each week, taking turns with my siblings.
In the course of the clearing out of cupboards, dressers, desk drawers etc. I am stumbling upon all sorts of personal tidbits. I hasten to add that I'm fine with this and started writing this in Dutch first:
Ik hou t meest van mijn ouders als ik bij toeval stuit op al dan niet onbedoelde uitingen van hun kwetsbaarheid, een notitie van mama op een dubbelgevouwen flard papier diep in een jaszak verborgen, van papa de opmerking tussen haakjes op een dichtgeplakt envelopje met oude postzegels……’t voelt alsof ik ze dan waarlijk kan zien, in hun onvolkomenheden ligt voor mij de opening tot hun diepste wezen
Datgene waar wij als mensensoort connectie mee willen voelen en wat zo moeilijk blijkt tussen ouders en kind, de onuitgesproken dingen die ertoe doen
I love my parents most when I happen upon unintentional signs of their vulnerability, a note from mama on a folded scrap of paper hidden deep in a coat pocket, from my papa a reminder written between brackets on an enclosed envelope stuffed with used stamps.....it seems as if I can verily see them, in these inadequacies lies the opening to their true selves
That which we as human beings long to make a connection with and what appears to be so difficult between parents and their offspring, the unspoken things that matter
I'm sure Tungsten our labrador inspired this one and so I end this first post of the new year on a happier note as this image always makes me smile
* the rummaging has a purpose, more on that in the next post.....