Goodbyes and Uncertainties 2015

The year began with downsizing at 11 Pandanus Street. At least ten trailer loads to the dump and carloads of crockery, kitchen ware and household goods to the Sunnybank Red Cross. One item caused particular interest to the Red Cross – it was a bone-china dinner set that Millie, Dorothy’s mother, had won in a Brisbane-wide raffle during WWII. The Red Cross in Brisbane were delighted to have it back as an item of historical significance for them. As well as helping with the disposal, saying good-bye to so many of the accumulated items of our joint lives, Scott had come from Newcastle to assist, like Jennifer, with the packing for our move. Once the sale of the home was finalised we were to be off to Brookland Retirement Village. When settlement day came and we finally moved on the 2 March, it all seemed so strange. We had been 41 years with 11 Pandanus Street as our beloved family home and garden. It was a place of many wonderful memories. It was a wrench to leave. I realize that for Dorothy she was losing more than her personal attachment to a special place, she was losing her inner joy, her motherhood and housekeeper role, her purpose. It was almost unfair. The facilities and support services of the retirement village were there to make living easier for us, given more access to carers to help me with Dorothy for showering and hygiene. More on the spot friends. More comfort for me, knowing there was assistance at hand when I was away shopping, orienteering, or playing tennis. I still had my life roles and interests but Dorothy had lost hers. So I now think all the trauma associated with the move and life-style changes just accelerated the progression of her dementia. Nevertheless having settled and made new friendships in the village we looked forward to Dorothy’s 80th birthday celebration – a much anticipated event on the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta in England. We had a happy gathering of family and friends and a lovely cake provided by Toohey Forest Orienteers. Dorothy enjoyed the day immensely and I was able to present her with two photo-albums recording highlights of her life. In the midst of these happenings I had undergone hormone therapy for my prostate cancer, and experiencing hot sweats, moodiness, and gender identity confusion. I developed an interest in and preference for female underwear and other feminine things, even in shopping both in-person and on-line. The uncertainties of where my life as well as Dorothy’s would be headed had become emotionally worrying. I was reluctantly accepting a loss of control.

About rpsimson1936

Retired geography and outdoor education teacher who loves orienteering and writes novels.
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