Well, it’s already over two months since the Goldfish died and it feels like it only happened last week. Sometimes, it feels like it can’t even be true – it’s something Wee-sis and I have imagined in a shared dream or something. Somehow, the anticipated sense of relief – it’s all over, he isn’t ‘suffering’ any longer and I can get my life back – hasn’t happened, either.
The quote marks around the word suffering are because I’m not convinced the Goldfish suffered in the way it is meant when people tell me he is no longer suffering. He had dementia, he lost his short-term memory, became confused, he lost his words and, towards the end, he had no resistance to infections but the way he fought back each time makes me believe he still enjoyed life. But, we’ll never know.
I’ve been trying to type up my diary notes from the when I moved in with the Goldfish after the Step-monster left. It is not an easy task – emotions are still raw. Anger and despair mix with a strange sense of joy and satisfaction and heartbreak.
When I first moved in anger was the driving force. Anger at the Step-monster’s desertion of the Goldfish at a time when he most needed her and the stability and continuity she represented in his life. I was angry she refused the additional support offered by Social Services. I was angry at the disgusting state in which she left the house.
The first task was to have the stinking, sodden carpet in the bedroom replaced with a vinyl floor covering. When they guy came to measure the floor he asked if we would remove the worst of the carpet before his men came to lay the new flooring as he didn’t want to ask them to do it. Mortifying! At least, though, he knew the situation and was arranging for the work to be done immediately.
Around 10pm on the first night I suggested to the Goldfish it was bed time. He said it was too early. At 11pm I started yawning. He said he was quite tired, too, and thought he’d go to bed soon. He didn’t. He continued to comment on the golf on television, get up and wander about, sit down again. At midnight, I was yawning harder and he was joining in but still made no move to go to bed, despite saying it was bedtime. Finally, it dawned on me. He didn’t know what to do; couldn’t remember how to get ready for bed.
“Right,” I said, standing up, “let’s get ourselves to bed.” He came through to his bedroom with me and I helped remove his jumper and shirt, get his pajama jacket on. The bottom half was a bit more problematic. He wasn’t going to let his daughter take his trousers and underpants off. Well, trousers yes, but definitely not the underwear. I handed him his pajama trousers and left him for a few minutes but when I returned he was still sitting on the bed holding them. Eventually, with lots of exaggerated ‘discreetly looking the other way’ we managed and he slipped into bed.
I didn’t sleep much as I was constantly listening out for him getting out of bed but he was only up twice in the night, wandering into his study and back to the living room, rather confused. I suspect he was looking for the step-monster but he didn’t ask about her so I didn’t say anything and he went back to bed okay each time. In the morning, a puddle beside the commode indicated he had been up another time without me hearing him. It was so easy to mop the floor
For the first two days, the Goldfish didn’t ask about the Step-monster’s whereabouts and seemed happy to have me, DH and Wee-sis around. We had fun playing dominoes and Snakes and Ladders. He would have played all night; he enjoyed it so much, especially Snakes and Ladders, chuckling with delight whenever one of landed on a snake and slid back down the board. He won about three games out of every four.
Unfortunately, despite the fun we introduced into his life, it wasn’t long before he started to become increasingly anxious about his missing wife. When the games stopped, DH and Wee-sis went home and it was time for bed things became difficult.