Endings and Beginnings

I am still awake, but only just. It has been another rollercoaster ride of a day, and I have never liked fairgrounds.
Mother continues to die, and for throughout today had times when she seemed agitated. She is definitely happier on her side, in a foetal position, but has to be turned to prevent sores, and that in itself is distressing for her. I felt she was passing beyond being able to respond. She did react this morning when I called her Mum, but my impression was that she was slipping further away. So two big surprises this evening. Nephew came and I told him I wanted to put some moisturiser on her face as she had been scratching, and i thought her skin looked very dry. I had tried her usual cream, but it seemed heavy. However, there was a bottle of Simple face lotion in the bathroom cabinet. Nephew warmed it in his hands then told Mother he was going to apply it. Very gently he started on her forehead and she turned towards him, obviously enjoying the touch of his hands. Shortly afterwards, she started struggling to sit up, so we raised the bed. Her eyes, which had been mostly shut all day, opened. I offered her her glasses. She accepted them on her face. She seemed to be trying to say something, but the words wouldn’t come out. Then I stroked her cheek and said how nice her face felt with the moisturiser on it. “Thank-you,” she said clearly. My father used to say she was like a terrier; once she got her teeth into something she wouldn’t let go. There may be less than five stone of her, but she is not giving up easily. I think she was really enjoying feeling part of the chat. She tired pretty quickly, but as she was calmer, I felt happier about leaving. I leant over her and said I will be back in the morning, that I love her and am proud of her. Her hand came out from under the covers and clasped mine. There is no price you can put on a moment like that. Magic.
MasterB, meanwhile, had spent a long day alone on das Boot. He was by the door as I unlocked it, full of vim. He is at the beginning of his life, as Mother is at the end of hers. I had a few things to put inside and something to get from the car. I opened one of the windows and got off the boat. He had already had some shore leave this morning when he met the resident geese, watched a woman arrive in her car, do something to her boat and leave again. He has his eye on a couple of boats and has to be lifted away from them. I am letting him get off das Boot in his own time, then putting the harness on him. The arrival of a second car decided him to return aboard.
Last night he settled for a short perambulation on the gunwale. Tonight he climbed confidently out of the window, completed a circuit of the boat’s exterior, and with a fine disregard for my nerves, leapt ashore. I scrambled rather less elegantly up the pontoon and put his harness on before he could get very far.

We were ashore for ages. The sun was setting and a breeze was springing up. I am glad I had my gloves in my pockets; I needed them. We went backwards and forwards. He saw a swan, and went
closer for a better look. At this rate I shall be lending him my bird books. Five feral cats were watching him in still silence, but he only noticed the one that ran, although it was the furthest away. He stopped and stared for an eternity, then seemed to lose interest. We went back the way we had come. There is another boat of the same design as mine that is moored with its prow right up against the edge of the marina. MasterB seemed to fancy a bit of piracy. I dissuaded him. I was really hoping he’d have a pee or a poo. He dug a couple of exploratory pawfuls of earth and moved on. Back to the geese. The gander moved protectively towards his mate who was sitting on an egg. MasterB seemed unfazed, and I was just thinking of picking him up, when two ducks landed noisily on the river and his attention was diverted. He turned around. I thought we were headed back for the boat, but he had other ideas. Eventually he dug a good deep hole and had a mega poo. Good boy. I hoped he’d have a pee too, but he saved that until he was back on board.
I finally ate my bowl of pasta shortly after ten o’clock. He wanted to play while it cooked and while I ate. Now he is asleep. I should love to know what he dreams about. And I hope Mother’s dreams are sweet and comforting as she continues this slow journey.

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26 thoughts on “Endings and Beginnings

  1. No real comment to leave, as a stranger, to do so doesn’t feel right. However, that said I’ve been reading a long. As it seems I’m living a similar parallel reality with my father. For me, with my father, I would not call this ending ‘the best of time’, nor would I call it the ‘worst’ either. It seems to be a mixture of feelings and thoughts. Just being there and in the moment, seems to be all that matters in the end.

    • I love your comment. Thank-you. It has been a painful time, but also a time I would not have missed. I hope your time with your father is equally gentle and precious.

  2. A lovely moment with your nephew and Mum…..the comfort of company – especially feeling their love – means more than we realize I think. Your evening with MasterB sounds so relaxing…which is just what you need.

    Hugs, Pam

  3. Long and peaceful journey to her end: alert and grateful to those who love her.and keep her company in this so very important moment …
    I admire her ability to feel and give love despite being experiencing her last days. Mixed feelings, mixed moments. I admire her intention to show she is receiving your cares and your love and welcoming them.
    And then Master B bringing you back to daily little things of life going on and on …
    Big hugs, Isobel, from us two

    • You know, my respect for her has gone through the roof these last days. In many ways helpless, she still showed all of us what it means to be human and to to be gracious. That is no mean gift.

      • Oh, yes! It’s a precious treasure she has been giving you day after day. What a gentle woman your Mother was … !
        And what a silent message she has been giving us all through your transparent words. I thank life for this beautiful jewel I keep deep in my heart.

        • It’s funny; she was a very strong and sometimes difficult character, but I think that stemmed from fears and insecurities, so with her dementia the essential, distilled person emerged who was gentle, polite and living.

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