Dad moved in next door earlier this year. He is 87 years old and a larger than life character. He is cheeky, funny and charismatic. He drives me nuts at times.
It’s wonderful to have him living so close as his dementia creeps in. After a stroke three weeks ago left him a bit wobbly he stopped playing golf as he now uses a walker frame. He also doesn’t go down to the beach anymore on his own. Life changes come steadily in the front door.
Dad, David, lives in a first floor unit. I installed a chair lift but he won’t use it saying, ‘It’s for old people! We get out most days for a walk to the beach. Caring for him takes up quite a bit of my mental and physical time, and it feels natural and a privilege to have it this way. I’ll often take my computer up to his unit and write my funeral ceremonies in his lounge room. He’ll ask, What are you doing? and I’ll reply, ‘Writing a funeral.’ Without missing a beat, he’ll ask, ‘Is it mine?’ We laugh. ‘Not yet!’
After a few times of him asking, I said, let’s write yours. He has been delighting in telling me his stories, listening to old tracks of music to find the right pieces for his ceremony. We are having fun! Here’s the opening song and lines!
Today we gather for the celebration of the life of David John Wilfred Haynes, also known as Dave, Dad, Grandpa, GrandpaD, and widely known in his family and the wider community as the teller of tales and porkies…