The Final Solution?

10 November 2014

It's unsettling to me that dad is no longer the author of his life, that he's become a sort of science experiment and problem to be dealt with. He's devoted his life to my mum and her family. But, now he's got nothing left to give it seems he's past his best before date. I do seem a wee bit cynical, don't I? Well, I feel very marginalized in my grief. 

Dad ... Nursing Home. I hate that these words live in such close proximity to one another. I have no words, really. Well, I do ... they're contained within the previous post. I can add some more: failure, as in I've failed my dad, who always referred to me as his old age ... betrayal, as in I've betrayed my dad by allowing him to go into one of those storage facilities for humans that society considers bothersome. I've worked in several nursing homes and during my decade as a nurse's aide and then nurse. They're like dumping grounds for the elderly, a place to park them so they don't have to bother us or make us uncomfortable anymore. They're a sort of modern-day Final Solution to the problem of aging and infirmity. 

What have we become as a society, that we can no longer attend to the weak, infirm, and elderly? Why do we refer to people afflicted with Alzheimer's and similar diseases as demented, i.e. having dementia

Railing Against Reality

14 September 2014

I find my anger rage triggered today. I feel enraged. Cheated. Disenfranchised. Marginalized. By Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). By my mother and her older brother, who now controls my parents’ existence like Cerberus, the multi-headed hellhound who, in Greek mythology, guards the entrance of the underworld to prevent the dead from escaping and the living from entering. 
Yes, I feel prevented from entering my own parent’s existence. I find myself railing against the reality that dad is slipping away from me, and has been for some years now. I find myself outraged at those who’s final solution to the problem of dad is to exile him to some vile nursing home somewhere, like societies exile their lepers. 
 Dad is not a social inferior or leper! I have this devastating image of a cattle car, with my dad inside of it; he’s in there, in the dark, with no one or nothing and only a tiny little space, the size of a square of cheese that has bars over it, to look through; he’s clamouring to be let out; everyone can hear him; he’s frightened and hurt and alone; no one comforts him; instead, they sneer, sigh in impatience and speak abruptly to him when he lingers in the telling of his own stories. I find myself hurt, deeply, deeply hurt that my dad has become an outcast in the eyes and minds and hearts of those he devoted his life to looking after. 
from L-R: Aji, Ajoba, Atya*
I find myself alienated from myself, and from my dad because he lost his identity by submerging himself in mum’s life and baggage and that of her family. I find myself alienated and struggling to find my own identity because my mum never afforded me the opportunity to taste and feel and see and know my dad’s identity, that originating identity, one I can now only glimpse in black and white photographs of those who are long dead, those whom I never met ~ dad’s own parents and his elder sister ~ and a landscape in which the wind whips through the coconut trees, the ground looks dry and has an almost barren texture to it and the houses are on stilts. I want to know that world, that private universe that now only exists in dad’s memory, a memory that’s now begun to whither and fade. 

I feel such raging sadness at this loss, this giant, gaping loss which no one can see or feel or taste or touch or know but me.

* Aji is grandmother in Marathi; Ajoba is grandfather in Marathi; Atya is paternal aunt in Marathi.

2013 In Review

4 January 2014

With 2014 upon us, I can hardly believe 2013 has passed. This is a 1 minute short I made as I contemplated my very own 2013. 

2013 has been a year of growth, sometimes, but not always, painful. It has been a year of reconnection with my family, in particular my siblings, because my oldest brother fell critically ill. It has been a year of endings, of letting go. Letting go of many of my fears. Letting go of the man I married 16 years ago. Letting go of the pain of the past. 

It has been a year of beginnings ~ I met a man that totally rocks my world. It has been a year of realization for me, of realization of the world around me and that helping others and making things happen is the best antidote for despair and loneliness. I began to take the walls around me ~ ones which I'd erected ~ down: I reached out and made myself a part of an anti-oppression, anti-violence-against-women movement. I decided I wanted to do more than consume this world: I want to make it prettier, more compassionate, and cleaner than it was when I found it. 

I saw my Mum for the first time in five and a half years and I mended fences with a beloved sister after 10 years of estrangement. I extended forgiveness to someone who, so many years ago, had done something unthinkable; this felt so freeing. I learned the meaning of "Love is Louder." 

And that man, that man who totally rocked my world? Well, he’s still doing it. And sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve him. And sometimes I pinch myself, to convince myself this isn’t a dream, that it’s really real, that he’s really real. Because, in so many ways, he feels like magic.

2013 In Review, Redux from Ophelia's Dreams on Vimeo.

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