The countdown begins

Dad has three weeks before has his second vaccination. Then we can go into his house. I can’t tell you how excited I am just to get in there and sit down and have lunch and a cup of tea with him. He has been inside now since mid December. It’s an incredibly long time and it feels far longer. For him though it must feel like an eternity.

To pass the time he has re-established a relationship with Amazon , with whom there was a tumultuous few months where he had changed card details and then forgot his password. The reconciliation came a couple of months ago and since then he has used his time well and sat pondering what to buy and then making the purchase. Amongst other things this has included shaving foam, a coffee pot, a frying pan, herbs, pants, a sausage and a banana. Actually ,the latter was a purchase via Waitrose but I mention it because it highlights his difficulty with online shopping. “Why 1 banana Dad”, I said , as I stood at the front door. “Well I thought it meant one bunch- who wants one bloody banana?”, he said tutting. “And the sausage?” I said laughing. He sighed and looked at it in its small refrigerated package. “No bloody good”, he said.

I have always been close to my Father. When I was in my early teens I moved in with him and we muddled along together until i was 19 and left for University. In the intermediary years we drifted slightly though always remained in close contact, seeing each other two or three times a week. The pandemic though has reaffirmed what we had and cultivated something a little more enduring. It has certainly made me appreciate what he finds difficult and exposed my own struggle with accepting that. It has triggered the beginning of a narrative between us which has allowed us to reframe weakness as difficulty. The difficulties have been silently accepted and supported.- Dads with shopping, washing and cleaning , and my difficulties financially and with settling into my new circumstances.. Subsequently we have come to accept them; now they present no hardship as they are what life is a series of challenges to be overcome with support.

Most importantly though there have been the phone calls which, over the course of the year have got increasingly longer. These days we can easily spend an hour chatting in the evening. There is no topic which we have not explored together, politics, philosophy, psychology, literature, as-well as matters relating to family. The past has been dug over and we have cultivated a different understanding of those years from which the present is growing.. Our shared humour has carried us (and our dislike of the Johnson Government). It’s been fantastic.

3 Weeks Later

I write this having gone into his house for the first time for 5 months. I am pleasantly surprised at what I find; the only evidence of my not having been there is the kitchen floor which he struggles to get to now. Other than that things are looking good – even the kitchen sideboard has undergone transformation. We sit amongst books and papers and chat about Prince Philip and drink tea. It’s all very British one might say.

Before I leave I take a trip to the bathroom. I click the door latch and turn on the light noticing a slight difficulty opening the door fully. I step in and as I turn to close the door I notice an unholy amount of loo rolls behind the door.

When I return to the living room I comment on the rolls . “Ah yes I was going to ask you to take those downstairs Sploddy” he says.

“Right”, I say “erm ok all of them? How many shall I leave there just a couple?”

.”There are 60 there you know”, he says this triumphantly.

“I can well believe that I say – any particular reason why there is so many?” , I query.

“No”, he says -” I only clicked on one. Turns out it meant one box!”

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