If I were at a restaurant and was offered a choice of my favourite foods – oysters, fillet steak, pizza, Caesar salad, a cheese platter, a doner kebab, or laughter – I would choose the latter.
If I were at a pub and was offered a choice of my favourite drinks – beer, shiraz, a pink gin, or laughter – I would choose the latter.
If you were to ask me what I would rather do – go for a walk, sleep in, read a book, visit a friend, do a good day’s work, or five minutes of laughter – I would choose the latter.
And, if you were to ask me if I preferred love over laughter, I would have to say no.
Today Ming and I picked Anthony up at around 10am and then proceeded to do a few errands in town before getting burgers and fries and eating them at a park overlooking the beachfront. Ants was very wobbly so we had to eat in the car. I’d given him his 11am pill a bit late so he wasn’t able to eat very well and kept mistaking his fries for strawers (you know for a drink). In the end I had to pretty much feed him half of my burger, but he had a lot of trouble biting, chewing and swallowing, and was dribbling terribly (Parkinson’s disease often affects the swallowing reflex).
On the way home to the farm, as the pill kicked its magic in, Ants began to recover but everything he said was so incoherent, quiet or nonsensical, that Ming and I had to eventually just respond with ‘yes.’ Once home, Anthony became extremely mobile and walked around the farm with and without his walker and at one stage he somehow took his shirt off to get a bit of sun, before coming inside for a cup of tea. But, just as suddenly (about 2.30pm), he became totally immobile and it took me an age to get him from house to car, by which time he was panting from exhaustion (and so was I!)
By then Ming had left us and gone to his shed to do a cleanup so I drove Ants over to say goodbye (it was now 3pm with next pill due at 4pm) and Ming was surprised.
Ming: Are you going already, Dad?”
Anthony: Yes, she just wants to get rid of me.
Me: I don’t know why I bother!
I was very hurt by Ants’ remark (especially by the fact that it was the first coherent thing he’d said all day), and I told him so on the way back to the nursing home. We put the car radio on to drown out the mutual misery until Ants actually whispered something in his new, soft voice. I turned the radio off.
Ants: I’m sorry, Jules.
Me: I can’t believe you said I wanted to get rid of you!
Ants (taking my hand and kissing it): I didn’t mean it.
Me: What do you and Ming want – my blood? I am doing my best!
Ants: I know, beautiful girl. I love you.
Me: I love you too so don’t ever think I want to get rid of you – please!
Ants: Glad I got a bit of work done today and Ming was a great help.
Me: Me too – thank you – I don’t know what I’d do without you, baby cheeks!
[He thought that he and Ming had done some jobs around the farm].
By this time we had reached the nursing home and Ants was totally incapable of walking so I raced in and grabbed a wheelchair and eventually got him into his room, then grabbed two nurses to help him into the toilet, and said a much quicker goodbye than usual.
Why didn’t I just respond to Anthony’s “she wants to get rid of me” comment with laughter? Why did I let myself be hurt? I am such an idiot! He and I have always bantered, so why didn’t I just turn his comment into an excuse for laughter? Well, I will next time, for sure, because these hurtful comments are becoming more regular, so I have to find a way of transforming these faltering conversations into some coherent laughter – yes!
Laughter is a gift that everyone is capable of doing, giving and receiving and it is my favourite thing in the world so, from now on, no matter what, laughter will be my/our medicine.