In February my 89 year old Dad died suddenly after a few days of illness. He went into hospital on a Sunday. By Monday morning he was diagnosed with leukemia. By midday he had died of a bleed to the brain. After a lifetime of good health it was characteristic that he took a ‘no faffing’ approach to leaving us.
He was the main carer for his wife, my Mum who has dementia. They both always resisted our help though it was becoming evident that standards were slipping and their home was getting grubby. Dad also wasn’t a natural carer despite half a lifetime teaching first aid (you know how it goes. Up there with hairdressers with appalling hair, unhealthy doctors and teachers unwilling to learn new skills).
So it was a bit of a shock as to how much was not being done for
Mum. I can’t blame Dad. He was 89. He learned to cook, to a fashion, at age 85 but on the whole he left Mum alone for hours and didn’t really check her state of cleanliness. Nobody is perfect. We all do the best we can. In addition I may not have realised quite how much Mum had declined in recent months.
So, since February my old non-life was suspended and I became her carer. It’s been a steep learning curve. We were left a mess financially. We have no lasting power of attorney. We haven’t even started processing Dad’s will (and despite decades telling us that all details were in his wardrobe and who the solicitor was, both turned out to not be up to date information).
Add to this a very violent disagreement with my sibling over caring for Mum and as many carers have found, the complete evaporation of family and partner support in caring for an aged parent with care needs. Add my own battles with mental health issues and worries that despite doing better than I would have imagine, it is very early days and I could be quacking like a duck by Christmas.
It’s a reversal of roles. I am the sudden responsible adult whist the former responsible adult is like a confused, frightened child who has no idea who I am or my relationship to her. Tears, tantrums, humour, pathos and a broken, underfunded care system.
It’s all been like an ongoing soap opera. As life often is.
And it’s ongoing.
So forgive me if I think outloud here in future.
A dream: I stumbled onto a seminar that initially thought was a trade workshop for those in the recording and audio industry. Many people were crammed into a narrow, low ceiling room with spot lighting. The centre of their attention was a large but dated audio mixing desk. There was an implication that its vintage and pedigree was such that many iconic musicians had channelled their art through this equipment.
Slowly it dawned on me that the workshop attendees were not audio types at all. They were psychics, mediums and the like.
Then it was revealed that this particular mixing desk contained the disembodied voices of now dead musicians. On different channels were the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Janis Joplin, Prince etc. Push up a fader and their voice just mid conversation was heard. Often it was one half of a conversation. We couldn’t hear the other half until it was surmised that the other half of any conversation might be on one of the other faders.
Excitement in the room grew as a handful of intuitive people realised that by patching the desk in various ways they could enable groups of musicians to talk to one another.
Slowly it dawned on us all that we might be able to patch in our own voices and talk to these dead rock stars or even collaborate musically with them.
If proof be needed / that we live in the matrix /scan the front pages
Having listened to The Green’s Natalie Bennett on Radio 4 and LBC this morning I find myself even more convinced that I’ll be walking to the poll booth this May and sighing heavily as I spoil the paper by writing across it ” None of the above”.
I find it hard not to see our democracy as little more than a twisted corporatocracy. I mean let’s take the two ministers currently defending themselves over cash for questions type allegations. Would any company employ an MP or soon to be Ex-MP/ career politician for their business skills alone? Their experience of the world outside the Westminster bubble? Or more likely for their connections and ability to grease the palms of law making in order to influence changes in the favour of the company?
That doesn’t mean I’ve abdicated my voting responsibility.Hell fire. I’ve always voted. It just means I no longer believe voting is where change happens.Or indeed that real change is now possible via the ballot box. I genuinely cannot see that anyone represents me out of those currently on offer. Without a change to what passes as democracy I can’t see that changing any time soon unless the main parties grow weary of endless hung parliaments and then push for changes to voting that will best grant them an overall majority. Don’t underestimate the political class’ contempt for the electorate. It’s all now just a self serving Faustian pact.
So how do I get that change. Not by business as usual that’s for sure. I will be writing as usual to all local candidates. As usual I’ll rarely get a reply. If I lived in a marginal seat this would like be very different. It would be “more democratic” if I moved to such a seat. At least I’d feel my vote would have some consequence and influence to it.