5 July 2022

Today

The view from Simon's back yard.

It takes an hour and a half to travel to the village where I was born and raised. Today, Shirley came with me and saw my brother Simon for the first time since August 2019.

As a nurse for more than forty years, she was not daunted by his changed appearance. With the cancer and everything he has become a bag of bones. So painfully thin - like a malnourished prisoner working on the Burma railway under Japanese supervision.  Wasting away.

We stayed all afternoon.  Shirley had his washing machine on and we changed his bedding. I had bought a new fitted sheet, duvet cover and pillowcases from Tesco. Shirley said that his old bedding was "disgusting". 

We brought tins of mushroom soup and cans of "Fanta" and "Coke" and some pots of chocolate mousse plus a couple of pints of milk. They were received with zero gratitude. In fact, he insisted that six cans of soup was far too many.

While we were there he had a fall in the sitting room, near the little bay window area and both of us had to help him up. He was as light as a feather. Of course it made us worry about him having a fall when we are not there.

Long ago, I used to love him. My cheeky little brother. He was good at football and fishing and climbing trees and later he became a guitar maestro. There are many other things I could say about him but I won't do that right now. He went upstairs for a lie down at 4pm having got up at 2pm. 

When the time came for us to go, it was like leaving a skeleton behind in the new daisy bedding I had purchased for him. No will made and no willingness to be moved to a nursing home for residential care. It's not easy. We will be back there on Saturday. What was it the song said - "Things can only get better"? In Simon's case, the opposite is true.

38 comments:

  1. I am so sorry. For you and Mrs. P. and especially for Simon. I hope that his passing is peaceful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If he passed away tonight in his fresh daisy bedding, it would be a good way to go.

      Delete
  2. Try to not let his state now taint the good memories you have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Andrew. The good memories were made long, long ago.

      Delete
  3. Simon is in denial and too afraid to die to make peace with it. Anger is the best way to stave off sorrow, so he's furious and shows it in that sense of entitlement you hinted at. There is a lot of subtext in your post but I get that there have been wounds that are still fresh, but yes, let's hope that his last night is in a freshly made up bed brought to him by his brother, because their mother and father would want it that way. You're a good man, Mr. Pudding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appreciate your insightful response Vivian.

      Delete
  4. One wonders where the little brother went during those years. It's difficult to say the least to come to terms with your own end. You are doing all you can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Red. When he has gone I may say more things.

      Delete
  5. I feel bad for you and Shirley and for Simon. I'm guessing Simon has been like this for a long time and will die like this. All you can do is be kind and hope he doesn't suffer for long. It's a shitty way to live and a shitty way to die.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your last sentence is most apposite Pixie.

      Delete
  6. I'm so sorry for all of you. I can't say more than that, I can barely read about it let alone comment intelligibly, although I wish I could. I expect you understand. Please try to be patient with him; it won't be much longer from your description. Is there no home care for palliative purposes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He cannot see the wood for the trees Jenny. It's clear he should be somewhere else now. Getting up and down the stairs is a daily hazard.

      Delete
  7. I think he's ready to go and is simply waiting for it. I hope you can hold on to some of those good memories and that Simon will soon find peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The good memories were so long ago Margaret.

      Delete
  8. So very difficult for all of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We picture various unhappy scenarios and I picture the difficulties of tying up his affairs because he has not made a will.

      Delete
  9. Very sad to read and even sadder for you to watch I suppose. I remember that gaunt look from the final times I saw my parents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Gaunt" is a good word in this regard.

      Delete
  10. Sad times. But at least Simon has both of you to care for him. Whatever the subtext is, it will be frightening for him this slow pace towards the end. At least he is at home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is at home but in my opinion he should now be elsewhere.

      Delete
  11. I hope you will find comfort in knowing that you are being kind and caring, even in the face of hostility. It is the right thing to do and I hope it ultimately will bring you peace.
    Sally

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wise words which I receive with thanks Sally-Justine.

      Delete
  12. So sad for Simon, and you and Shirley. You are doing all you can to help him, but he seems to have reached the stage where he is beyond caring. May his passing be peaceful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Beyond caring"...Yes, he seems to have reached that place.

      Delete
  13. A lot to have to contend with, Neil. Awful. All I can say is that with M-i-L we tried to plan ahead and do what we could in advance (practical, financial, etc., without being over- morbid) and it helped a lot when the time came.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has resisted any such help quite angrily and in my turn I am now quite miffed about the confusion that will face me when he goes.

      Delete
    2. It could be there won't be any help, but you can begin to work out what you'll need to do and do what you can to reduce the learning curve.

      Delete
  14. But you are there for him, and that helps you through the process. He simply sounds angry at this turn in his life, and that's something he needs to reckon with. I hope he finds peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appreciate your kind and supportive thoughts Bob.

      Delete
  15. I stand at your side, knowing this is hard. I looked after my aunty who had bowel cancer. She was a hard old girl. She shouted at me, complained about everything I did and accused me of things I hadn't done. I nursed her in our home for the last four months as her home had no heating or hot water.
    I like to think she softened towards me at the end. Anyhow, I'm glad I did it. I can look myself in the mirror and know I did my best.
    It's easy to love and care for a loving and caring person not quite so for one who isnt.

    I hope your brother doesn't linger on.
    Just keep doing your best. The end is surely in sight.
    Kind regards.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Look in his eyes, not at the body that is.
    He will still be there.
    It is hard to see a body retreating, reducing. There is anger at the powerlessness of himself and others. I have memories of seeing someone age thirty years in three months. It is hard on both sides.

    ReplyDelete
  17. There isn't much more you can do, Neil. It won't be long now from the sound of it and Simon won't be suffering anymore. It's a sad, sad situation but you are a good brother for seeing it through.

    ReplyDelete
  18. At least when he shrugs off his mortal coil you will know that you and Shirley did everything you could for him

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm really sorry for all of you, Neil. You're doing all you can and being a very good brother to Simon. His pain and fear are evident from what you've written here, so it's no surprise that he's being so difficult. I doubt he has any bandwidth left to make an effort to act better, which is understandable under the circumstances. I hope you can manage not to take it too personally when he's unkind to you and Shirley. It must hurt your feelings, though.

    I sincerely hope that Simon's passing is as quick and easy for him as possible. I admire you for doing all you can for him in the meantime.

    ReplyDelete
  20. So sad. Thinking of you all at this very hard time.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm so sorry you (and he, of course) are having to go through this. Whether he fully realizes it or not, he's lucky to have you and Shirley.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's a challenge to be kind in the face of the history you have alluded to and the ingratitude and unpreparedness you are faced with with each visit. I have an angry estranged child and I wonder if I would be so kind in the face of her malignancy.
    I like the thoughtfulness of the daisy bedwear.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  23. Before I started reading your blog, I lost my mom to cancer. I always felt that cancer was a double edged sword. On one edge, it is a hideous beast that takes away our loved ones slowly and there is nothing we can do to stop it. On the other edge, it usually is a slow disease and we know the end is nearing so we can make good use of the time remaining. The two and a half years after my mom's diagnosis were some of the best. I hope all this extra time spent with your brother will be treasured later. Until then, both of you are in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

Most Visits