wings and things


on May 11, 2014

Today, Ming and I took my mother out for lunch for Mother’s Day and we had a lovely time together, and we all mentioned Anthony but the logistics of getting him into that crowded restaurant were too difficult, so we didn’t include him.

After lunch, Ming and I went to the nursing home. Usually, when we visit, Ants is out in the sunshine, or still at the communal dining table, or sitting in the armchair in his room. But, today, for the first time ever, we found him in bed, with the bed-rail up. Ming and I briefly watched him from the doorway; he was nearly asleep, but not quite, his eyes were vacant and wide, and his tongue was lolling, and he was extremely confused.

I sat right next to Ants and stroked his head, while Ming looked through a couple of boxes of photos of Ants when he was young (which I have kept in Anthony’s nursing home cupboard for ages) and, for the first time ever, Ming was really interested.

But Anthony was terribly blank and his speech was incoherent and, even though I know he might be a lot better tomorrow, I caught a glimpse of the inescapable future when he will be bedridden and unable to communicate.

I am totally gobsmacked by my mother’s capacity to love and visit this son-in-law of hers who is just a bit younger than her. When, as a teenager, I fell in love with a man twice my age, she must have been totally alarmed and who wouldn’t be? He was 41! Long story short, it took many years for it to all work out with Ants and me, mainly because he respected (and was terrified of) my youth. But when we finally got married, my mother embraced him with her whole, beautiful heart, hesitantly to begin with, cautiously and protectively, and now totally.

Anthony is approaching, in a slow and confusing way, the next phase of all the diseases he suffers, mainly Parkinson’s. I visit, or take Ants home, or out, every day when I can but I fluctuate and am not very organised (i.e. yesterday I brought him home for the day then felt like I needed a crane to lift him from chair to wheelchair to car – it was terrible and I wasn’t physically strong enough and, all the way back to the nursing home I sobbed silently, because I had become impatient with him with my “JUST PUT YOUR LEFT FOOT FORWARD, ANTS!”)

Even though I can already see that I have written a rather convolutedly emotional post here, I want to thank my mother so much for helping me care for Anthony now that he is in the nursing home, for visiting so often, and for loving him. Thank you Mother.

But when he is totally bedridden and asks for you and not me we may need to have a bit of a discussion!

20 responses to “Bedridden

  1. FlaHam says:

    Julie, My heart goes out to you, and at the same time I am constantly amazed by your strength and durability. Having you in one’s corner is a blessing, having you as a love must be a blessing, having you to care, again yet another blessing. Julie, you are a very very special lady. A wonderful Mom, and a wonderful care giver. I hope this day especially special to you. Take care, Love Bill

  2. It is nice that Ming and your mother do support you and Ants… and that Ming is getting a glimpse into his father’s earlier days… I think Ming is a sensitive young man… Diane

  3. Your mother sounds like a treasure. I have leaned on my mother SO much through the crisis and trauma of my divorce. With her I can be totally me and she is completely non-judgmental in my down periods. With other people sometimes I feel I have to pretend I am OK when i am not.,
    Sometimes I feel guilty that I lean on her when she is 87.
    Although, in some ways it has also given her purpose and usefulness and we have had more heart-to-heart chats because of the divorce than we have ever had in our entire lives and indeed she has confided in me the loneliness of when my dad died forty years ago when she was only 47 and she had never spoken to me about that before.
    Ia admire you so much for what you do for your Anthony and your son and the closeness you have with your mother and family.
    Happy Mother’s day

  4. Happy Mothers Day to you and your mom! xxxx

  5. This was very emotional Julie. What a family of love you have. You seem to have learned so much from your mom. Happy Mother’s Day to you both (it’s MOther’s Day here in USA). And I’m so sorry for Anthony and what this horrible disease is doing to him. I wish I could send you strength and hugs.

  6. Love your last sentence.

  7. susanpoozan says:

    You are so brave.

  8. Trisha says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Julie. (I know I’m a day late!) I hope tomorrow (today?) is an easier day for you.

  9. I can’t click like here. I liked some bits and not others. You have an awesome mom and you are an awesome mom! Not sure if it’s Mother’s Day down under but it is here, so Happy Mother’s Day and hugs all around!
    Diana xo

  10. You are amazing in your strength; the very last sentence really highlights your strength and grace! Hugs and more hugs Jules. Mothers are amazing. 😀

  11. Vicki says:

    It must be a bit startling for Ming to see his Father in this state, but the sooner he knows how it will be in the future, the easier it will be accept it. Having been a nurse, you have already had that image unveiled.

    I really admire your courage in the path you’ve been taking these last few years. But more importantly, you are still able to find some humour in life with your last sentence. Shows how gifted your writing skills are to express your sadness and yet still end a post with a smile on your face.

    I think that’s one reason why so many people follow your journey through PD with Anthony. Your gift with words and your acceptance of life as it is……sad at this time…….. lonely, but filled with love and the joy of your marriage and son.


  12. Terry says:

    I am hoping tomorrow is entirely different. I don’t want you to have to go through that next stage my friend

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for opening your heart the way you do.What I see inside is rivers of love and sensitivity combined with that magical ingredient called humour.

  14. It is sad when they become bedridden and it can happen so fast, well it did with nan she went from walking around to being bedridden in a matter of months

  15. My Heartsong says:

    Touching and you manage the humour, too. Happy Mother’s Day , Julie.

  16. Ann Koplow says:

    Today I give thanks for your mother’s beautiful heart and for yours, too.

  17. My heart goes out to you and Ming, Julie. It must be so difficult.

  18. Thank goodness for your mother, to help balance the pain. She does sound like a gem but then that’s no surprise after all the months of reading you, Jules.

  19. janeslog says:

    He might have taken unwell with an infection which led to him being incoherent. I have been like that the one and only time I had influenza and was incoherent and talking gibberish. No doubt you have been in the same position at one time or another through illness (not being drunk).

    Don’t start worrying unnecessarily as it might just something which will soon pass.

    I had to take photographs of a girl’s Holy Communion on Saturday. She was blind and was looked after by her dad and her grandparents as her mother had passed away suddenly a few years previously.

    I give this story as an example of how many people have terrible tragedies in their lives and we are never alone in our suffering. It’s not the suffering but how we cope with it that is important.

    Smile at Ants, don’t look upset, as this will only make him upset as well.

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