Owen’s emotional and cathartic masterpiece of a song about his grandad’s decline under the effects of Vascular Dementia. Ex olympic standard athlete, ex army engineer, ex sailor, my dad is/was a lovely man, but the more we see him, the more we miss him....
Aeternam Memoria -
Owen wrote this in January, and, a few weeks later, drove back from university for the weekend to record it in our back room. He added a truly haunting cello part to the guitar and vocals, enlisting Rachael Monaghan (their band’s drummer’s girlfriend...) to create yet more feeling.
The video is me -
That was my dad, Brian. The word “was” is becoming an increasingly meaningful form of the verb.
Dad is 84 and has VD. Sadly that stands for vascular dementia caused by lack of blood
flow to parts of the brain. And 5 months ago he passed his driving test. Physically
he’s fine. 2 -
The first care home couldn’t handle his physical competence -
Drugs: his morning ritual was to go downstairs into the hall and kick the front door. Then go and have breakfast. He did let off a fire extinguisher. One of the staff felt that was fun and funny, but her’s was definitely a minority view. Now he’s chemically coshed for much of the time to make him more manageable, making him a shuffling, staggering zombie for the first half of the day. Let’s get the inmates on feeding tubes as soon as possible to save on washing up...
That’s a bit unfair! Absolutely that’s unfair, but there is no “fair” here, just
the least worst of a set of shitty options. The warders -
Tour a few care homes and view the old people. Then view those that have become vegetables. “He’s calling people vegetables, they aren’t vegetables”. Good point. They’re not vegetables, but neither are they people. They’re meat in manned graves. A body with no mind in a bed or a chair is not a person. Human bean bags. Loll, loll. No mind, no volition, no point.
But, we look at them. They still look like people. We remember the way they were,
we feel -
But keeping them alive is not the moral high ground. Using the full panoply of medical
science in this way is ethically and morally indefensible. It’s a selfish act in
the emotional interests of the perpetrator. It provides the perpetrator with some
emotional or moral comfort -
You choose to spend limited resources on this and not that. Where “this” is stored meat and “that” is babies, cancer victims, starving children, pets and, for some people, shampoo. And you force your choice on the rest of us. Ah! But I’m now trapped by the “if you eat pork, then you should be prepared to kill a pork yourself” decision.
The question is whether I, or we, can find a way, or if I can even steel myself to
find a way to do the right thing instead of succumbing to the “get someone else to
kill your pork” hypocrisy. Perhaps we’ll just have to help him escape again -
I miss my dad. We drive down to see him and take him out nearly every weekend. Sadly, the more I see him, the more I miss him.