Looking back now it’s so easy to say I could have done this or that better, and seen some of the signs. But really when you’re in it, you can’t see it for what it really is.
What I am getting at is back on Oct 15 when I started to see something was the matter, we did our usual which is go down to New Brighton to get an ice-cream and look over to Liverpool and have a bit of a chat and a walk.
Here he just looks dishevelled and he hadn’t shaved in a while. Now these pictures aren’t great, I can’t even remember why I thought I would take a photo, I think I knew really this would be the start of something, so let’s document it.
But what do you do when you know something is wrong, but confronting the person would upset them, harden their heart and make the whole process a whole lot worse?
What I found when helping him clear out his flat was a letter from his doctors. Now asking him where his doctor was, was just useless as he couldn’t tell me. So I rang where I thought he was registered and he wasn’t, and they couldn’t help me either.
But thankfully I found a letter that said he was due to a check-up. I was only up north on the weekends and at this stage spent most of my time with him trying to sort stuff out and get his life in order. Where he was living was awful and we needed to do something about it ASAP.
Things like calling the doctors needed to be called through on a weekday where I could speak to someone. I am now back in London and manage to get through to his doctor. I try to explain, my father doesn’t like the doctors, we need to do a memory test of sorts but we need to do it in a sneaky fashion, can we book it on a Monday or Friday so I can come with him and get the ball rolling. He cannot be trusted to remember and then go to the doctors he didn’t want to go to in the first place!
And then I am dropping hint to him saying, ‘ Oh I know what we should do, let’s get you a general health check-up, looks like they have sent you a letter, it’s good to make sure you are fit and healthy!’
His favourite line even now is to say he is fit and healthy, and he really is/was for a 74-year-old. The amount of work he was doing in the day and in general being active meant physically he was in good shape. But I needed to get something professional in place and sorted for everything else. But then again the top of my list was brought back to his living conditions he was currently living in. One thing at a time hey!
Could I have done more? Maybe.
Would he have let me? No, he would have fought me over it.
Does it matter now? Not really.
Just sad to see this photo and remember the fact he didn’t think he needed help or didn’t want to ask for it. The process change of parent/child relationship was shifting, and that’s always going to be weird and necessary for both parties.