Tag Archives: dad

A Haibun about Jigsaws and Dementia.

This is my entry for the British Haiku Society Haibun Competition. It was either successful (because it was  honourably mentioned), or unsuccessful because it didn’t win. It has been mentioned on the website and is in the latest edition of Blithe Spirit, and the final haibun is quoted, so I presume it is now OK for me to reprint it. It is the second haibun I have written, featuring Dad and jigsaws. As some people have written books and plays about such things I suppose two haibun is not excessive, but it does worry me that I go back to old subjects – at what point does it become boring. That’s the reason I’ve generally (but not entirely) avoided COVID – we are all living through it, how many poems do we need?

Falling Into Place

years pass
children become strangers
—his new world

Jigsaws became an important part of our lives. First, as conversations became more difficult, we used them to pass the time. Later we used them to stimulate Dad’s thinking and slow the progress of the condition. Finally we used them to measure his decline. A man who once ran a company struggled with a jigsaw designed for a toddler. My sister bought new ones as they were needed, each with fewer pieces than the one preceding it.

He had been an active and successful man, and thousands of events had formed his life. Gradually they faded away. This frustrated him in the beginning but as he sank into the strange new world of dementia he came to accept it as a comforting place. I was happy to see him become contented. Then, one day, he asked me who I was.

the mirror cracks
a fractured smile

When we cleared his room my sister picked up the nine-piece jigsaws and suggested we donate them to the care home. She checked with me.

You don’t want them, do you?”

Not yet.” I say.

Getting up to Date

I’ve finally uploaded photos of the Harlow Carr visit. Sorry it took so long but I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather over the last few days, despite the intake of therapeutic cake.

As I get older, I’m clearly getting more delicate and the sudden cold snap has caught me out. It’s either that or I’m turning nesh in my old age, as we say round here.  According to my search facility I’ve not used the word before in a blog so I added a link. If I have used it before, I apologise for the ,ink.

We went to see my Dad today with NumberTwo son. It was a bit sad. Dad is healthy enough, and well looked after both by my sister and the home, but he’s not likely to remember Number Two Son on his return from Canada in two year’s time. It’s easy to ignore this when it happens gradually, but you can’t ignore it when looking so far into the future.

More pictures here from Harlow Carr, including the current state of the dogwood fedge.


A Day of Various Errands

This morning I went to the garage to get a headlight replaced as I’d been unable to get the bulb out yesterday.  That seemed to be the theme of the day, as my dentist had proved similarly inept when it came to taking things out. It took five minutes to replace the bulb. Unfortunately he doesn’t do teeth. He did, however, tell me a story about a tooth extraction he had. The slightly built lady dentist couldn’t get enough traction to remove it, so she went for help. This arrived in the somewhat square shape of another female dentist. She had an eastern European accent and the build of a hammer thrower (not that I’m pandering to racial stereotypes, you understand…).

She took a firm grip on the tooth, squeezed and destroyed the tooth. He said it sounded like a car crash.

Then they cut it out.

I left the garage feeling I’d had a lucky escape.

Then I came home, blogged and ate a sausage sandwich. I had sausage rather than bacon because they are softer to chew with a booby-trapped tooth.

After that I ran Julia to the doctor, dropped off some Christmas cards and then went down to see my Dad. He’s suffering from a chest infection, which, in turn, makes him more vague. I then lost nine games of dominoes – three to my sister and six to a man with dementia and a chest infection.

My life has hit rock bottom…