wings and things

“I heard it on the news.”


I was a little taken aback today, when I went up to our little local shop to get bread, and the proprietor said how glad she was about Ming. Seeing my confusion, she said, “I heard it on the news.” I told her about the reduced charges and she said she already knew which was quite disconcerting because we didn’t hear or see anything on the news. Then she said she was annoyed that they didn’t pronounce his name correctly and I laughed because how does anyone who isn’t Scottish get ‘Ming’ out of ‘Menzies’?

Ming and I are glad we didn’t see or hear his verdict on the news although I am now wondering who did. Oh well, I’m sure small town chitchat will only give it 24 hours and will mostly be positive and there is no point wondering. I suddenly realized I have been hiding away a bit by not frequenting the local shop, butcher, post office and petrol station as much as usual. It became a little nerve-wracking after the accident because I was never sure if people would ask me questions or avoid the subject (strangely similar to how people are not sure whether or not to ask about Anthony).

Stigma, embarrassment, acceptance, humility, guilt, miscommunication, shame, empathy, bewilderment, grief and joy; all of these factors and emotions and more have bundled themselves together, over so many months now, that it is difficult to know how to untangle what has become a maze that I have found the exit to. And yet, on opening the exit door, nothing looks particularly different; the grass is still brown from a long, hot summer, the mice and rabbits continue to plague us, the car needs washing, and I am very behind with the house-hold jobs.

I never experienced any sort of anticlimax as each of the children recovered from their injuries; it was just pure joy. And yet now that the court case against Ming is over, the joy of Monday has been replaced with a sense of nothingness which is, I guess, the space of anticlimax that precedes exiting the maze.

Tomorrow, I will exit the maze, having spent one final day within its mystery. I didn’t want to stay there but I had to figure a few things out like how to cope with people’s concern or lack of, how to move on with the newfound grace, faith and compassion I am already experiencing and how to be more grateful for every single moment of every single day, and every single person – especially my brothers’ families and my mother.

Tomorrow, if someone else says, “I heard it on the news,” I will allow my soul to smile as I leave the maze.

Happy Easter.


Easter Saturday, Parkinson’s disease and a picnic

Today, Ming and I picked up Anthony from the nursing home, took him out to my mother’s place, picked her up, then went down to the foreshore near her home for a picnic. It was a perfect day, sunny, but with a breeze, so we grabbed some takeaway (sushi and chicken rolls) and managed to find a gazebo right near the water. Now that Ming’s back has half healed from his second spinal surgery, he insisted on doing all of the maneuvering of Ants in and out of the car and the walker/wheelchair we recently bought, and, except for when we picked Ants up, he was pretty mobile – bonus!

After our main food, my mother and I went to the nearby shop and bought ice-creams for dessert, two banana paddlepops for Ming and me, a magnum for her and an ice-cream sandwich for Ants (he loves these). We were surrounded by seagulls of course and Ming, like a little boy, loved chasing them away.

Then we went for a long drive around the estuary until we got to a semi-hidden beach where Ants said he wanted to have a swim. Having never swum in his life, this was a funny request, so we simply drove back slowly, dropped my mother off at her house, then headed back to the nursing home.

On the way back, Anthony became even quieter than usual, knowing, I guess, that the outing was nearly over, so I turned the car radio up and the three of us bopped a bit, with Anthony tapping his leg and Ming complaining that the radio station was too mainstream and that Ants and I had no taste – brat!

Once we had delivered Ants back to the nursing home room, and got him comfy in his armchair, he was showing signs of fatigue, confusion and the kind of misery that sometimes hits him when we depart. He loves the way Ming and I banter, so when we leave him, despite turning the television on for him, I can see how the silence of our absence hits him. I can see it in his face when this happens because he raises his chin a bit, sort of defiantly, and gives us a glare that is a mixture of love and grit.

He knew that Ming and I were going to a barbecue tonight at a friend’s place and that it would be just as impossible to take him to this as it would be to have a swim in that beautiful ocean. Usually I don’t tell him about these social occasions, so that he doesn’t feel left out, but this time I had to in order to explain why we had to go.

If it weren’t for the various photos I’ve taken over the last few years, I probably wouldn’t see as clearly how much Anthony has deteriorated. The photo I’ve included here is from a bit over two years ago when we were still able to do the restaurant thing easily. Back then, he was more upright, more mobile, more able to eat using a knife and fork, more vocal, more himself. Now, going to restaurants or to people’s houses for a sit-down meal is very hard because, with PD, he is only able to focus on one thing at a time (one voice, one activity, one sound), so the picnic idea was much easier.

When we picked Anthony up this morning, the nurse-in-charge said he had become aggressive again, punching out at the carers, and swearing (totally out of character), so I promised to have a word with him and I explained to her that it is part of the dementia engulfing the PD. She nodded in understanding but when I mentioned it to Ants he just muttered that he had to fight because he is often kidnapped.

I am sad, yes, but no longer ‘tragified’ because what would be the point? This is only going to get worse, not better, so the four of us just have to accept this and do the best we can (I include my mother in this foursome because she is a rock and very much a part of our own little family dynamic).



Even more determination

Husband is coming home for Easter and I am determined to make this work which could be a bit of a challenge. You see it isn’t only the dogs and birds who are presenting me with a compatibility problem, it’s also the fact that Son’s relationship with Husband is fraught with tension. With both of my ‘boys’ incapacitated, Husband permanently with Parkinson’s, and Son temporarily with the post-surgical back brace, my attention is divided and the 3-way dynamics sometimes resemble a comic strip with me as the punchline.

Yes, indeed, sometimes three is literally a crowd, so, even though he doesn’t know this yet, Son is going to Grandma’s for a couple of days so that I can give Husband my undivided attention. Well, not quite as I am not really into doing the doting wife thing so Husband would find that a bit alarming, but I will try!

I’ve been training the guinnea fowl into a welcoming party and they are doing very well.