My dad was 82, "a creaky old gate". His health got worse he became blind and angry. Unable to look after himself went from hospital to nursing home again and again. It was sad and frustrating to watch him on that slippery slope, powerless to help. He came so close to death several times - but bounced back again and again! An emotional roller coaster! I found myself wishing him out of his misery. Then he seemed to get much better. We planned his Christmas. We laughed + told him I'd feared he'd not reach Christmas + we looked forward. The next day at 2am I got the call. He'd died in his sleep. I felt cheated. I still miss him dearly + can't believe he's dead + want him back
Hi Tim, I found your presentation at trace moving and thoughtful.
My dad died in 2000. I was able to spend the last two weeks of his life with him. And we were able to say goodbye to one another. But I have nonetheless been somewhat haunted by his death for the last four years. I see my own death in his. I feel like I'm totally doomed.
Dad was a bit off it in about the last 4 days of his life. He talked a lot about 'going home'. This became literal talk on his part rather than figurative talk. At points, 'home' was where he lived when he was a kid. 'Home' is haunting. It is less a physical place than a state of mind, it seems.
"I want to say goodbye to the bad years at 6 Wyatts Drive: When the windows almost shook out of their frames everytime they tested the artillery over on Foulness Island.
When the swimming pool turned green and moss & lichen dulled the red & white flagstones of the patio. Whne the pool lining peeled away from the walls; the hours I spent elbow-deep in the stagnant water, trying to rescue the baby ducks when they got stuck behind it. The vixen that drowned in the deep end. Carrying the dead weight of its sodden body onto the golf course, in a sling made from balck bin liners. The yellow eyes of its mate - I still feel the mark they made on me.
The wilful cruelty of my grandmother's carers, during the final years of her life. The flat balcony roof that leaked, the water streaming down the wallpaper. The rust spots along the base of the radiators, haemorrhaging black water into the cracked paint trays. The lightbulbs that I didn't have the energy to replace, going out one by one. The ceiling light that broke with one punch - watching the glass fall down around me in slow motion. The rejection letters, still in their envelopes, spilling out of the crystal bowl and over the glass topped coffee table. The wasted days lying on my grandfather's bed. My late grandmother's limitlless supply of Seuredol cluttering her bedside drawers. The nausea and the torpor.
These bad years linger in recent memory, clouding over the time when the house was good. My Grandfather pruning the plants on the rockery. My Grandmother in the kitchen or lying on one of the big garden chairs, in front of the summerhouse. And the water in the pool, warmed by the heat of the sun, sparkling.
"She was my mother's greatest friend and colleague; she was my guide, philosopher, comforter and friend from the days I left home to long after I was married. She lived to be 98 and maintained her alert and sharp brain to the end. In the last year of her life - because mine was in turmoil - I lost touch and no Christmas card came. She had no family and lived alone. She died on Christmas day."
I have just completed a recent research trip to Oulton in Suffolk, followed by a trip to Oulton in Norfolk. There were dogs and shields and bells and graveyards and red cars and village greens in both places, but probably the most intriguing 'artefect' I dug up was a church kneeler.
Do those look like pye dogs to you? Certainly the school looks familiar and its demise in 1969 fits in with the town's disappearance. Once the school goes, a town is definitely on the way out, no?