End Of The Season

A friend took this photograph of the last leaf clinging to a tree near his place of work.

He wrote of Autumn, still hanging desperately on at this late hour, before finally conceding to the inevitable winter.

The symbolism is obvious, but to me it reminded me of another liminal point. My Mum, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is nearing the end. She is still hanging on despite a possible chest infection. A stab in the dark Hail Mary, she is receiving antibiotics to counter any such infection, with the hope of an improvement over the next 48 hours (I’m writing this on the Saturday).

If that doesn’t materialise then end of life care will begin.

To be honest, I kind of hope it isn’t a chest infection. What is the point of coming back from the brink for further struggle? A struggle she won’t even be aware that she’s in. A struggle she cannot win.

The irony is that for a while now my wife and I have been administering medication and calorie-providing drinks to prolong what she didn’t want prolonging. To keep her where she didn’t want to be. (Such is the nature of her illness that, even though she is still here, I speak of her wishes in the past tense.)

But it’s not for us to decide the hour. A ‘time for all seasons’ and all that. At least not until we react to her failing heart and begin the end of life care.

Maybe the leaf in the photograph can also stand for one final moment of clarity, glimpsed among the fog of confusion, where those clouded eyes show recognition, and the lips twitch in that old grounded humour.

But I fear that is wishful thinking. The leaf is hanging on but, despite those blue skies, there’s a cold breeze blowing now. The natural order cannot be defeated. One season is giving way to the next.

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13 thoughts on “End Of The Season

  1. My heart and my prayers are with you at this difficult time Andy. I know they sound trite words, but trust me, I know what it feels like to wish the “best” for someone but not knowing what the best actually is, and whether it is for them or for me. Alzheimer’s is a cruel condition, it’s a burglar and a thief, and it brings all sorts of complicated emotions for anyone who suffers or witnesses it. You will find your way of coping, but please know that you and your family are surrounded by love, and you will find the strength to love your mum and when it’s time, to say goodbye to her. Love never dies, it lasts forever.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘Burglar and a thief’, speaking just last night I said to my wife that my Mum had been robbed of having a deeper relationship with her grandchildren. And your last sentence I know to be true. Thank you ❤️

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  2. Pingback: End Of The Season | City Jackdaw

  3. Andy, I know what you are going through and how hard it is to reconcile your feelings. You have already lost your Mum once and now have to go through it again. Whatever you do, the prime concern is you and your wife and family. You will look after each other and support each other and that must be paramount. May your Mum pass peacefully and pain free and may your memories be wonderful ones of your real Mum, not of the shell she is now. Love and hugs to you all.

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  4. As ever I am very behind with emails. I know what it’s like to be hanging on and waiting for the inevitable to happen. It was the same with my mum, and she was young, waiting for the end and knowing it was for the best but still…best wishes to you and your family.

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