Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Don't waste a day. Life is truly short.

Alzheimer's SocietyAfter a brief hiatus caused by my stupidly over torquing the seat-post clamp and having to wait a few days for the new one to arrive from Germany, I finally got back on my bike and headed off to see my Dad.

This has nothing to do with bikes and everything to do with life the universe and all that.

My father is much less active than he has been. He is more difficult to rouse and falls asleep again much more readily than he has even as recently as two weeks ago. Thankfully though the recognition appears to take a little longer, the smile is still there.

I sat with him at first trying to communicate and then, -since he indicated that he would like to sit in the sun,- to move him to a wheelchair so that I could take him outside. I resorted in the end to opening both his doors to the patio outside and moving his chair into the doorway so that we could sit together and enjoy the warmth of the early morning sun. The wheelchair was too much.

I had got up at 05:00, set off just after 6 and after a brief visit at home, got to him by about 9. It was already hotting up and plenty comfortable enough for him to not get cold.

I remember sailing with him on the River Orwell in a mirror dinghy and then a leader. We did tolerably well and he was an honourable enough skipper to hand over the race winnings to his crew, which to a young teenager felt like a decent amount of money. It typified everything he did. As a sailor he was good. The mirror, that he built in the garage was perfect and beautiful.

He spent hours with us bird-watching up and down the east coast of Suffolk and Norfolk and embedded in us a love of wildlife and the outdoors that colours most of what we do even now.
 our interests changed, so did his. He took photographs that he developed in a blacked out bathroom, and that he entered into competitions and did well in. He carved and gardened and played the organ. We would take any chance to marvel at the ability to play with all four limbs at once. If you've never watched an organist, do it.

As I looked at him on this morning, (which is like looking in a mirror anyway,) I felt guilty for having to leave him and vowed to find longer just to sit with him. He will sleep for most of that time, but I do not want for him to be alone.

Life and your journey can feel like a lonely place at times, but it should not be. Whether you understand it or not and believe in something after or not, don't spend too much of it feeling angry or resentful or bitter or sad, nor lonely. When you look at the last chapter in the flesh, it is worth seeing that life is short.

Live with as much energy as you can muster and enjoy every second for what it can give you.

I shall sit with my father as often and for as long as I am able and I will race these 2200 miles for him and everything he gave me.

www.justgiving.com/john-bakewell Alzheimer's Society

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