Return to an existence.

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Well, our month without the AP is over and her one hundredth birthday has been successfully celebrated in style and is now over so we are back to the same old routine and the same old repetitive conversations.

At least with the summer looming the weather will be better and the AP can sit out under the shade and catch a few rays. They might work a miracle and improve her attitude and behaviour but I won’t be holding my breath. Sadly the AP’s very presence has ratcheted up the angst and watching her pretend to all and sundry during the celebrations that she is this dear, sweet little old lady has caused the LSO and myself much frustration. The reality is very much the opposite. At this very moment I am listening to the conversation between my lovely cousin from Canada and the AP and no matter what is said the AP manages with amazing skill to bring everything back to herself! I have to be thankful that there is some conversation at all because in truth I have nothing to say to her which is sad in itself but anything in the present is promptly forgotten, hence the repetition and the past is always the same old stories over and over again.

Our month off was pretty stressful but all the boiler work is completed and the results have been definitely worth it, just having a shower is a joy. But the LSO and I now need a break! What a joke but I suppose October isn’t too far away as long as my equally lovely Scottish cousins will have the AP back.

Now I must really get to grips with the diet and next Monday I will start the 5:2 diet in earnest. I am also looking at a low carb regime following Genius Foods. Our darling daughter has sent me some information on podcasts to listen too and the LSO and I will be following this new, according to the LSO, tyranny (typical male response) as soon as I have sorted the meals out. I haven’t gained the weight I lost originally but equally haven’t lost any more. I try to tell myself that being positive is the way to go but do know that as far as the AP is concerned it can only get worse but in the meantime I will endeavour to be a better person and think better thoughts.

Hope springs eternal and all that ….

 

 

 

A new year begins.

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But sadly the AP continues to sail onwards and the old ways and attitudes are still as prevalent now as they were last year. Someone asked during our New Year’s Day lunch if I had made any resolutions for the new year and my response was a most definite and resounding ‘no’.

There can be no point in any because nothing will change until we are no longer burdened with the task of looking after the AP and that despite her advanced years does not look imminent. It’s a really depressing thought but sadly the truth.

We decided two years ago that if we had to be trapped in our home at least we can make it a lovely place to live in so rather than save money we have planned a series of renovations. First off it was the complete and much needed redesigning and renewing of the kitchen, then we redecorated four of the bedrooms followed by the living room, that completed we are more than half way through the refit of the utility room. All is looking good and in April, when the AP goes to Scotland to stay with my cousin and his wife for a month, we are putting in a boiler house complete with new oil boiler, a water tank and a pump to have the pleasure of some water pressure and a decent shower. The month of May will bring the redecoration of the hall, landing and stairs although the carpet replacement will have to wait a while. All this is costing a great deal but it will be worth it.

The AP is somewhat bemused by our activity but doesn’t really want to know because she fears it may cost her some money. Although on the other hand, she is curious enough to want to know just how much we are spending on everything. We don’t feel it’s any of her business and equally we prefer not to have her financial input as we are then beholden and reminded, when it suits her, about any small amount she has given us. Once again the problem lies with how many times we are expected to say thank you, a word that has disappeared from her vocabulary. We decided some time ago that the best way to deal with her attitude is to remain fiercely independent and to do our own thing as much as we possibly can.

On that final note and despite my opening paragraph we WILL be going out on the odd evening or two and on our own so I guess I have made one resolution for this year.

A silent scream.

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I need a padded room where I can hide and bang my head against the wall. Nothing we ever do is good enough and all of the AP’s frustrations are taken out on us and me in particular. I am horrified at my own feelings. I really don’t like this woman who lives with us and really do not want her under our roof.

We are back to the annual Christmas card farce where we are to blame for not sending cards to her friends for whom we have no addresses. The fact that we include her on our cards to the relevant people seems to just sail past her. Actually I think unless it directly impacts on her’ most things ‘sail’ past. The AP’s response is that SHE has the addresses said, I may add, with an overload of sarcasm.  So what really is her problem? Truth be told she doesn’t want to make the effort. Her sight is very poor but no worse than last year when she did her own cards that I addressed the envelopes for and she does have new reading glasses that apparently have made a difference. Why does she feel the need to send these cards, everyone would understand the problem. The truth is that she doesn’t send them for the recipient, only for herself. everything is a reflection of self. The me-me complex is all encompassing. Remember ME, alway ME.

I know two blacks don’t make a white etc. but I really have had enough of her. She has done nothing for my self esteem or my peace of mind.

The sympathy expressed when my brother died has inevitably all but gone and she is feeling sorry for herself. The world no longer revolves around her. When asked by others how she is we have the pathetic little voice and “I am coping, some good days and some bad days, up and down but (brave little voice moment) I am getting there.” I sometimes wonder where ‘there’ is, sadly not miles from here. This is usually followed by what an awful year it has been. It doesn’t seem to occur to her that it is the LSO and I who have had to cope with what the year has thrown at us as well as deal with the AP, her multitude of appointments, her vindictiveness and selfishness as well as her innate snobbery and the ridiculous vanity.

But I refuse to wallow in self pity and I am aware that my words seem at times harsh but we must try and get a semblance of normality back into our lives. I desperately miss the fact that I cannot talk to my brother but life isn’t always fair and we were lucky to have had so much quality contact during the last 18 months.

I also am aware that it will not be easy but 2018 will be and must be a new year in more ways than one.

On the brink again.

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Unfortunately not the brink of freedom, I think that the honeymoon time after the great revelation event is possibly coming to an end. I sincerely hope not because the inevitable upheaval will be enormous and the AP will HAVE to go into a home.

I really cannot deal with too many of her nasty little asides. The latest one was made after a conversation she had with cousin George who, god bless the man, had said after her 100th birthday which is the end of April she could go back up to Scotland with them. I did tell her that she would be up there anyway during April as we are replacing our boiler system and will be without water for some of that time but by all means do go up to bonny Scotland again, we would not mind at all.  Her response was a touch of the old vinegar. ‘Well you would say that wouldn’t you.’ Interesting reply to a straight comment and why shouldn’t I say it. I would be lying if I expressed regret at having the chance of some freedom, some personal space and some privacy.

I have no problem at all with the AP being more independent and just wish she would stop constantly looking for trouble, comments like ‘well, you will be pleased to know I am going up to my room now’ don’t help her cause at all. There are signs that she thinks her place here is safe now that she has agreed to a personal alarm but that is far, far from the truth. I do understand that she needs reassurance that she is wanted, don’t we all, but her attitude towards us doesn’t help to engender love and devotion.

I may need to leave the list of suitable care homes that we have found in a prominent position, she is quite prone to having a nose through our paperwork using the excuse that she thought there might be something in there for her. The fact that we always put anything for her where she sits seems to pass her by. But then most things do unless they  primarily concern her. She might just be needing a timely reminder that being pleasant costs nothing, just a teeny bit of effort.

Well, we’ll see. I don’t need one more iota of stress this year and nor does the LSO. Just to add an extra worry to our lives our oldest, at twelve years and much loved, Jack Russell has developed a strange cough and seems to have trouble breathing at times. The vet thinks her trachea may be collapsing but wants to X-Ray her to find out. We are not holding our breath that the news will be good.

 

When the end comes.

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Death is the most inevitable part of life but most of us try to ignore it and even treat it with fear. My brother died last night and although we were prepared it still comes as a shock, someone who has been there all my life has gone. Then of course there is the moment at which the AP has to be told that her son as died and that is a hard one but must be done.

I find no solace in copious weeping because that just leaves me feeling utterly destroyed. My own father died when I was 36 years old and that was hard but death puts things in perspective. I discovered then that the things I thought mattered had little relevance and I was able to reflect then and now on what really does matter.

Perhaps one of the saddest things of all is the fact that we don’t express our true feelings enough during life and these facts are accentuated with death. But in truth these feelings of grief are only for ourselves. We must be true to ourselves, love people for what they are and be honest about our feelings.

I found this wonderful piece of writing that seems to have been around for a long time but no-one knows who wrote it.

‘Every Light Carries the Ray of Hope’

‘Seek to always keep the light of hope lit for yourself. During those difficult times, the sad times, resolve to keep that light on, no matter how dim life tries to make it.

If you are struggling right now, if today you find yourself overwhelmed by life or besieged with doubt and fear, keep hope close. Know that the flame of strength and confidence to overcome anything lies within and is always there just waiting to be lit.

So today, calm your mind, spark your light of hope and embrace the challenge of the day, recognise that you are going to be ok, know it, feel it, believe it.’

Today is a time of great sadness but not a time for regret. It is a time of fond remembrance and reflection. It is just so important to appreciate what is in our lives and realise that life is to be treasured, enjoyed and lived without illusion or recrimination.

 

 

The land of limbo.

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It really is a strange place to be and I feel as if I am living in another reality. Since the AP’s unreasonable and totally unwarranted outburst we have had our son and his partner staying for a couple of nights. It gave us all a welcome break from the rather strange calm that fills the house at the moment.

This is partly while we wait for news of my brother who remains heavily sedated. It is early days and we just have to be patient.

The AP is behaving quite rationally at the moment and we are all making an effort to keep the atmosphere light; so far it seems to be working. Perhaps the moment the AP realised we could be serious about her leaving her comfortable haven here and going to live in a Care Home was the catalyst for calm. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know the real truth. Her outburst last week reflected the fact that she confuses time and events continually and when she can’t work something out the AP makes a story up and then believes it. She can be surprisingly sly as well as quite vindictive one minute and then gushingly sweet the next.

I suppose what we are witnessing is the slow degradation of the brain that comes with such extreme old age. It is sad but that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier to deal with and somehow we need to find a solution that is not too painful for either of us. Because she is well looked after and does little except look after her personal care she thinks she can cope with anything. The truth is the opposite.

Meanwhile we will continue doing what we have been doing for the last four years and wait patiently to see what occurs. I do believe that situations can resolve themselves given time and we just need faith that our guardian angels are looking out for us.