Is surreality a word ….. or just my word?
It is a word, as much as the words surreal and surrealism are words, it’s as strange a word as is its meaning – a form of disorientated hallucination. It’s real and it’s not, it’s surreal.
Later on, l will be writing a post of a similiar vein called Gift, which will of course be down to a person’s acceptance and belief and interpretation of what we choose to believe in.
I visited my Father last night the journey up was a nightmare, l wished l had proper painkillers and the bloody cortisone has not worked at all, and all the juddering, curving of bends played havoc on my neck and nerves.
l was there in his presence for two hours with Suze, my Sister, my Mother and my Dad’s live in carer and my Sister’s dog Moppy. It was somewhat surreal as an experience.
To see my Mother cooing over my Father, her ex husband of 30 years like he was a child, of watching Moppy run around like a lunatic in a house belonging to a man who cannot abide dogs, and of watching for almost two hours a sleeping man, a trace of the presence he used to be now reduced to a mere shadow, as he grimaced in the pain he says he doesn’t have and watched as the age old stubborness refused to acknowledge the pain itself turn his knuckles white.
My Father is mostly unresponsive, he suffers from end of days hallucinations now, and called out a few times to his Father now long gone by nearly 30 years. His weakened and bruised hand snaking slowly out towards a spectre of his own imaginations be it in front of him or in the garden beyond the window.
For two hours l was in his presence, for two hours he slept, grimacing, white knucking and calling out to the ghosts of yesterday, of his yesterday, a history of his own. He and his own Father were never close, pretty much like myself and Dad. We are not close, not like he is with my Sister, or should l say was? He only partially knows she is there too. He wasn’t there for his Father’s death, neither was l.
We had to go, and as l leaned in towards him, l found l couldn’t say goodbye, he wasn’t dying that moment, he is dying though and whether he lasts this week l don’t know. He wants to go, and yet still fights it with that white knuckled stubborn determination to be right. He is not in pain, he will be in pain when he is ready to acknowledge he is in pain, then he will let go, then he will pass.
I heard this morning from my Sister, that at 1am, the syringe driver was inserted – puffs of morphine and anaesthetic at his disposal which will quicken that decision making should he decide to let go.
What could l say to this man? A husk of his former self. “Dad, l find all of this very surreal?” No, that wasn’t fitting nor appropriate. I leaned in, and whispered “I hope you find happiness in the next life, as you didn’t have it in this one.”
His eyes flickered open at that point, the first time of the night, he looked at me briefly and nodded, but he didn’t recognise me, the times of recognition have passed, l was just another person. “Thank you for stopping by whoever you are, and maybe l will.” he rasped, just audible, a moment that Father and Son shared, that no one else heard.
We left at around 11pm, and if l thought the journey up was awful, the journey back was far worse, l could only describe it as sheer agony. I fell into a troubled sleep at a bad angle, and awoke to horrendous pain, cursing the cortisone’s failure at achieving the desired expectations.
It wasn’t a goodbye in the traditional sense of the word, it was still a goodbye. I guess in some respects l am now in the same limbo as he was with his own Father. Except Dad had a choice, he was downstairs and preferred to stay in the car in the park and listen to the cricket scores whilst his own Father a hundred feet above him rattled his last breath. I suppose l can say, at least l was there. Is it the same when someone doesn’t know you? Is that actually even a goodbye?
All the questions l ever had, will now go unanswered, way of life l guess.