Sunday, February 3, 2013
The older I get the more I’m like my dad. It started with the sighing. That sigh you let out when you’re exasperated with the kids, your life and the abortion you are making of a little piece of DIY.
Mind you he’s the DIY king.
I’ve given up DIY after the experience of trying to fit a cat flap into the wall of our garage so the mangy cats can live outside. I ended up with a hole the size of a Bengal tiger which led to my own DIY SOS to my dad to come and fix the mess.
Not only do I sigh and now breath like him I’ve started with his obsession with turning off electrical items. I wander round after the kids braying “Sunlight is free” whilst opening the curtains and turning off TV’s, computers and particularly light switches. He’s obsessed with switches and now so am I. Which is ironic when you come to think of it, given where I’m sitting today.
I’m holding his hand in both of mine as he lies in a hospital bed. He’s attached to things that beep repeatedly, take his blood pressure, do his breathing. I’m remembering a drunken night we shared as a family back when we’d moved into our new house.
Dad came and cooked and we ate and drank and gossiped. Over the course of the evening for some reason he got round to talking about mortality and how if he ever ended up incapable of helping himself then we were to make sure that he went with some dignity. Nobody was listening to him, putting it down to the maudlin effect of brandy.
I promised there and then that I would help him should the time come. We laughed it off but it felt like a promise, like I’d made a commitment.
So here we are, Me and my dad both obsessed with switching things off. He can’t tell me that he’s had enough, that he’s knackered and ready to go. I look round at the family standing and one by one they nod knowing it’s right and glad it’s not them.
I’ve already squared it with the doctors. Normally family aren’t allowed to do this as it’s more a figure of speech. But I made a promise, a commitment and they’ve relented.
I free one hand, reach over and switch his life support off.