On My Watch



On My Watch
Perthmore, September 2013

Dad is settled now,
For the night.
At least
I think he is.

I am downstairs
In the guest suite.
Dad is upstairs
in mine.

Cried his heart out,
As I tucked him in.
Those who know,
Know why.

Had our evening chat,
My pleadings that he use
The emergency button
If he needs me
During the night,
And, which,
Of course,
He never does
(i.e., use the
emergency button).

Left him with his music.
He likes it very loud.

I sit in the TV room,
Next door,
Wanting to be certain
He is settled,
Before I retire
To the basement.

Feeling guilty.
Didn’t turn the TV room
Into a bedroom,
Which I should have done.
I should be next door
So that I can hear him
In the night.

After all,
There is an incident
Almost every night.
And he lives
With the consequences
Until morning.

Could be urine,
On the floor.
Could be wet pyjamas,
Or wet slippers.
Could be broken class,
And water everywhere,
A slippery floor.
Could be anything.
And, Heaven forbid
That he fall
When he is alone,
In the night,
When I might not hear.

For sure,
I awaken often,
Make the trek,
Up the stairs,
Down the hall,
Listen at the door,
Make certain
I hear
The regular breathing,
The snores.

Doesn’t mean
There Isn’t a mess.
But if he is asleep
It can all wait
Until the morning,
A new day,
I will have
Less pain
And new energy.

Lying in bed now.
Ears tuned to upstairs.
Back burning,
So badly.
Back aching,
So badly.

My whole body,
My whole being,
With the strains
Of the day
And the pain,
So unrelenting,
And so pervasive
With this new life,
This care giving life.

Beyond hope
That the pain,
And chronic fatigue,
Will settle back,
To “normal”,
As we get into
New routines,
And mine.
As we settle
The legal stuff.
As he comes to deal
With his new
And I come to deal
With mine.

Family is there,
Of course,
Helping out,
In so many ways.
And I will forever
Be grateful.

Dad is becoming accustomed,
I think
To having a daughter,
Or daughters,
To tuck him in
At night.
Making sure he knows
He is loved,
And wanted,
And not a burden.

Wish I could have
Had him longer.
All too quickly
He was gone.
We didn’t even get
A chance
To settle into
All those new routines.

He didn’t get
The chance
To really
The way his new life
Could have been.

I didn’t get a chance
To make a whole lot
Of difference.

But it ended quickly,
Weeks only,
And he was gone.

I will always be glad
That I had the chance
To have him here,
With me,
For a while.

I will always wish
I had done better.

And I will always feel,
To some extent,
The guilt that he died
On my watch
Which was,
Of course,
From that moment
When his furniture
Came through my door,
And Dad too,
While his things
Were organized,
His pictures hung,
His computer made to work.

Realizing only now,
I think,
That this was
For the long haul.
Not just a short stay
‘Til his wife
Felt better
And wanted him home,
Which we all knew,
And he could not accept,
Was never
Going to happen.

But the long haul
Was really
A short haul.

Then he was gone,
A very bad fall,
On my watch,
The dying process,
The long leaving.

And we are all
Left here
Missing him.

Two parents gone now.
The cord to the past is cut.
The family goes on.
Indeed it grows.

And we keep with us
Their legacy,
A great legacy,
A lasting legacy,
A forever,
For as long as we
Shall live,
A legacy
For the generations.


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