My Dad has just spent a week at my Sister's house.
A week of uninterrupted conversations, of good night's sleeps, of relaxation
He is starting to see what we have all seen for a while.
That he has been stressed to the max. That he has been forgetful, and agitated under the sheer consistency of caring for someone with dementia, for someone living in the twilight zone, for someone living in the shadows of life.
This is the very first time he has used the respite service.
My sister told him that if he dropped dead from sheer exhaustion we would all kill him.
He has a sense of humour to see the irony of the conversation. But underneath the message is clear.
No more 'stiff upper lip' English persona. No more 'she's your Mother, soldier on' attitude
At this exact moment in time, he is trout fishing with one of his long time mates in Tasmania, almost drunk with happiness.
I know. I can hear him smiling and grinning from ear to ear.
Happy that Mum is being more than well taken care of and that he has permission to be happy, to relax, to enjoy life.
My Sister put this all in context for him. She put it so succinctly...
She said that she might be selfish, but she wanted access to him as a person, as a Father, as a Grandfather.
She said that at the moment we had no parents. Our Mother is essentially, gone. A mere shell of her former self. At least with some regular respite we could have access to one parent. He could do what he dearly loves, to be surrounded by family.
My siblings and I are all in agreement and giving him support 1000%
My Mum? She is having a fabulous time, meeting new friends, going on social outings... I know as she is only about 5 minutes from me and I can keep an eye on her.
This hasn't affected her as much as we thought the first time would.
So, my family is relaxed and happy knowing that all is well.
My Dad, well, he might even catch a fish
Ciao for now...