Deep breath….. in through the nose slowly counting to six out through the nose slowly counting to four, repeat, repeat, repeat x100. It has been that kind of month where I need to keep reminding myself to breath, to find the calm and to just breath.
My stepfather Graham is such an active man, he is an extrovert constantly zipping about here and there seeing people and helping people out. He is active in his church community, in his local community and just likes to help people and be with people.
Graham cared for my mum for over eight years in her fight with a brain tumour. He seemed to become even more dedicated to her care in the four years she spent in the high care facility of a nursing home. She was unable to move and over the last four years lost every bodily function, cognition, movement, control bowels and bladder and the complete loss of any ability to communicate. Loss of communication was for me perhaps hardest because it essentially was the loss of her while her body remained alive. She was young and while her brain was suffering extensive damage her body was strong and kept working, to the constant surprise of doctors and nursing staff.
Graham visited her at least twice a day, every day, to feed her meals hold her hand, kiss her, put the radio on, massage her feet and so on. He didn’t visit because it was needed, she received good care in her time at the nursing home. He visited because he wanted to care for her in that way. I can’t begin to explain the level of care he gave Mum a women who was barely alive and had nothing to give, not even a smile or a groan, in return. That is some kind of dedication and it is so inadequately explained in my simple words.
Graham put his life on hold to care for Mum and an amazing partner he was to the end. He is now in his own battle with cancer having been diagnosed a couple of weeks ago, his operation last week went well, he is just out of intensive care and appears to be making good progress in his surgical recovery. I deeply feel for him at this time, and our family, I just feel so sad that he has spent so many years dedicated to the care of his love and now at his own time of need he doesn’t have one special person to care for him. Sure he is well connected in his NSW country town, well known and he has and will continue to receive support from friends and family close by. But the lump in my throat and the pain in my heart are even greater when I think of the struggles he has faced already and now has to face without one special person to hold his hand all the way.
So I breath deeply and slowly and I hold Graham in my heart and in the light.