My Dear Old Dad


It’s Thursday, and I’ve spent most of the day with my Dad. He is in a nursing home now, although we try not to mention the word in front of him. He scowls sometimes when we do. Life is pretty simple for my Daddy “O” as I’ve started calling him. It’s pretty sad I think, as I sit and watch him, that he has become a quiet still person. He was such a strong red-headed man. Full of muscle and he used to scare me to bits. Now he just sits. Not really talking much. I’m not sure that he thinks a lot either to tell you the truth. He just sits. He enjoys his own company and the routine of the place that he now knows as home. It’s a shame when I look back on the year.

He was in the independent living area of the Nursing Home. Which meant he could have a bit of freedom. He used to sit at the door and welcome people in and tell them where to go. He really loved to sit and wait – say hello and have a friendly chat with anyone that came in through the door. Everyone loved him, and it was pretty handy to have him there because after a time the doors became locked and didn’t open automatically and My Dad could let people in by pressing the button on the frame on the side of the door. It’s a shame we didn’t teach him how to get back in, as he did escape once, and the nursing home luckily forgave him.

Each week when I visit, I take some bread, butter, cheese, pickles and chocolate. I think he is feeding a whole lot of the residents there, truly I do – if I ate as much bread and chocolate and biscuits as he does I’d be the size of a house. Considering he just sits.

I had to take him to the skin specialist a few weeks ago and it was a looong day. It took 6 hours from picking him up to returning him back to the Nursing Home. It was only in Fremantle but that’s the way the specialist works and so we had to just wait. He’s pretty good at waiting. Better than I expected. I was completely dreading the day. I’m not so patient when it comes to my Dad. I get so mad and then it’s pointless because he doesn’t understand why I’m angry. The funny thing was he kept forgetting why we were there. “Why am I here?” he’d say. I’d say “To have your ear looked at Dad.” To which he kept replying “What’s wrong with my ear?” Then I’d have to explain to him about his ear. “Oh yes that’s right – well why are all these other people here?” he’d say as he looked around the waiting room. He did bring a smile to everyone’s face so it kind of made the day go pleasantly by. Then he’d pipe up and ask the receptionist if we were going to be there till closing time – at which everyone in the room chuckled.

It was a nice feeling to get this skinny, tired worn-out old man home to his bed. Old he is – he walks very stooped and doesn’t really understand the world and where he is. Very patient and very kind and so full of love, if only he had been able to show us this love as children. I’m so very glad to have witnessed this new softness and to have been so close to him in his last few years. Love to my Dad.