This is not Second Life related at all, and while that is not usually something that I do, this is something that I needed to do for myself. Writing this out, posting it as a thing is something that I need to do because he means/meant everything to me, and I feel that I am going to honor that in putting this in text.
Not many know much about me at all, and that is fine, that is how I kept it, there are those that know some things and others that know most things, but he was the most precious thing to me for the past 5 years and the 40 that proceeded that. He was my Mums best friend for 45 years, so when I was 4 he became a part of my life, he thought of me when he went away and came back bearing gifts, he asked after me over many years as he and my Mum were close and I did not really see him for the decade prior to the past five years, but when he got sick and it was clear that he needed help I changed what my life was, and made him my everything, without even a pause in thought. I actually did not put any thought into it at all, it was just that was the way I decided it was going to be.
I moved in and changed his world, he was 90 and had some health issues but also dementia, which in itself is entertaining depending on the type. He had what I called goldfish dementia, he remembered me and his past, and everything about everything – he was highly intelligent, well travelled well read etc – but he would forget what he watched or ate five minutes prior. Things that are not really that important, but wow do I have a lot of photos of food on my tablet and phone, just so I could remind him of fun things like french toast with mushrooms and tomatoes or fettuccini with mussels and shallots…he inspired me to cook as I had in the past and not done for a very long time, I created many meals for him that will be very hard for me to even look at now.
For the past five years he was my everything, my reason to wake up, my reason to go to sleep early to be awake for him as many times through the night as needed, he was why I suddenly changed my Second life from 16 hours a day to barely 2, why I was no longer awake all night to be online for US and EU people (unless needed), but slept like an Australian for the first time in 12+ years.
We had the best days and sometimes the worst, dementia can be tricky, but thank goodness streaming TV came in just when I needed it most, because that awesome thing about not remembering something just done, meant that when I found something he enjoyed like documentaries or big movies and by big I mean Great Wall and King Kong big, he was happy to watch them over and over again… I now know far too much about things I would never have known about if not for him. Food shows also help, because if he watched for long enough, then getting him to eat was easier, dementia can confuse the issue on being hungry or thirsty and if your brain is telling you you aren’t there is no way to change that opinion without a lot of crying and begging.
He talked to me all day, told me he loved me and I replied the same at least a dozen or more times a day, he held my hand for hours while we watched movies and tv shows and documentaries, or just sat and talked for hours no need for anything else. We looked at books he had – hundreds of books on all sorts of subjects, sometimes I would read them, sometimes we would just go through them looking at pictures, to him they were all new and exciting, there is that upside to dementia again. We played trivia from my tablet, I did mention he was a genius! and when I was working on the computer he was genuinely interested, and would get so excited and proud of me when I would show him things I was working on. He was so happy about Hair Fair each year, and I told him and truly felt that if not for him sometimes it would not have been possible… I gave him all the credit as much as I could on most things, because I really felt that he was integral to everything being possible, because when it was that time of year he was very patient with me knowing that I needed a bit more time at the computer to set up and to help creators and the event itself. He knew that it was for Wigs for Kids and that was all that mattered to him.
As I said his dementia was goldfish, but it also meant that he would retain things over time, so eventually he would be able to tell tell me when I mentioned that my favourite scene in the Great Wall movie was coming up and he could say ‘ the arrow and the bowl’ and while I would get so happy and excited that he remembered, it also meant I would have to shelf the movie for a bit, as now he knows it, so watching it over and over is no longer possible. He learned how to turn off my alarm on my phone, I needed many alarms a day to keep things on track, medications and food etc. He learned how to tell Netflix he was still watching and that was all just over the top crazy joy for me…it seems silly to just beam for an hour because he remembered we did something the other day, but it was magical to me, because in those five years he did not get worse in that way, and that is an awesome thing. My biggest fear was not decline in physical movement or health, those things did happen, he needed me to do more for him over time, but my fears were in him not remembering me or Mum, not being able to remember his own life. Our pasts were intertwined for 45 years and he still held onto it all, and I was so grateful for that and probably selfish because he was mine and I needed him to love us still always.
Again not every day was a picnic, some days were harder, not wanting to eat, refusing to accept that things had to happen to exist etc, it was physically hard also, because he was 6ft and a Man and I am 5ft 10 and a girl lol, mind you that came in handy for him because he kept stealing my slippers, he liked mine better. Lifting someone multiple times a day, dressing them etc all those things are painful and he was worth every single ache and pain, as I said, he was my whole reason for existing for 5 years. I slept facing one way only, I only thought of things in terms of what he needed, liked or wanted. I came here only tolerating sweet chilli and now I put hot sauce on most food, because he was Chilli obsessed, and I would buy things for him to like and he would make me eat them too…those first years were tough lol. I had kitten collars around his walker so that one movement and I would be up, I had nanny cam video on him at any time I was not in the same room, so that I could see and hear him, I still have trouble putting both ear pieces of my headphones on because for five years making sure one ear was never unable to hear him is deep rooted.
They told me he would not last a few months when I took him from hospital five years ago, and I showed them they were wrong, and that made me so happy. I changed his life in ways too, he didn’t have a tv when I came here, was eating badly as the elderly tend to do when not being supervised, his home was collectors/hoarders paradise, not in the bad way just in the very neatly organised kept everything way. Which took a lot of work minimising, and making our home our castle with all the things that I bought so that life was easier, I would never have spent that money on myself, but for him I never hesitated if I thought it was going to make him happy. We had fun and laughed and talked and sometimes fought every day. He would wake me up to make sure I was asleep lol he would get confused and want his Mum and I had to tell him she had passed – hardest thing to do – I did everything I could to make his days from morning until night something he was happy to be experiencing and he loved me.
I thought I was ready with when he would leave me, I mean I understood I would be upset, I knew I would be heart broken and miss him, but nothing we talked about prepared me for this, he would tell me I would be free when it happened, and I would tell him I would be devastated, and devastated now seems mediocre a word to even describe what is going on. He used to say I had to go with him, that he would not survive in Paradise without me, and I would say if it was truly Paradise there would be a vending machine there and he could make unlimited copies of me all he wanted, but that if it was Paradise he would not actually need me. He disagreed.
He teased me all day, he would tell me he loved me but then follow it up sometimes with he did not know why, but he does lol cheeky scoundrel. He would say I love you, and I would say I love you too and he would say it was impossible to love him more than he loved me. Five years of that, every day was addictive, it was everything, I am lost without it, without him. I cry all day, I ugly cry, not just normal tears, but sob so loud I am scared I will freak out the neighbours, and then I get so upset that the neighbours are even something I have to check myself over. Everything makes me cry, mentioning him, talking in regards to him, having to deal with all the things in relation to his passing – and that is not over yet and it is horrible – I have had to move a lot of things around, and when I am pleased with making things fit the right way I end up sobbing because I feel guilty that something has pleased me and he is not here. I feel guilty that there is sun shining on the balcony and he is not able to sit out there and enjoy it. I feel guilty that for the first time in five years I have slept more than two hours at a time, and I feel guilty that I am not freaking out at every sound that should be waking me up because I was that way for five years. I feel guilty that I had to move a mirror because it let me see him beside me if I was turned towards the tv and now him not being there hurts so much that I cannot look that way, but that feels like canceling him out somehow. I feel guilty that now I can leave home to go to the store if I need to, because for five years I could not, unless Mum was here to be with him and so often I did not leave our home for months at a time, because if Mum was here and I didn’t need to go somewhere I just didn’t, because I hated leaving either of them.
I was lucky to be able to be with him as he died, I got to tell him every second ‘I love you’ and I got to thank him for giving me a home for five years, and I got to tell him that my life had purpose because of him and that I was so grateful to him for needing me, loving me, and making every day something wonderful.
It was 6 weeks ago yesterday, he actually got sick just as Hair Fair was ending, and had to go to hospital and because of lock downs I had to stay at home and not be able to see him for two weeks, two punishing weeks that I thought were going to kill me, then he came home after the hospital changed our whole world demanding we do things etc to allow him to come home and then two weeks later he was so sick and had to go back and he died that evening, but this time due to the circumstances they let me be with him, only me though, my Mum was not allowed, which was horrible. She loved him too, she was the whole reason I did all that I could for him because he loved her and I loved him for that. She has lost her best friend and I also cry over that, because now she has to deal with her own loss as well as her daughter falling apart because of that loss. My Mum made him part of my extended family, we do not name people with family names, but to me he was the closest thing to a Grandfather I will ever have, and I am so glad that I got to look after him for five years, that he got to be so loved by me for five years and I certainly hope that he is not too angry at me for falling apart, because he would be very cross at me losing my mind in grief, but that is an argument that I am more than willing to have, he just has to come back to me and he can bring it on.
I am not someone who has not had loss in the past, actually by the time I was 30 I had lost a dozen people, and one that I loved just as much as him, that I also looked after when he got sick, but this time, I am not coping, because for some reason I forgot that all his talk about moving on, and how I would be free then, was in the moment, I am now seeing decades a head of me without him every day, and that is overwhelming to me. I have no understanding of my purpose now, five years is a long time for someone else to be your reason for being…there are far too many hours in the day, by 3pm I am desperate for it to be over and its not. I cannot imagine how I am going to fill my days in the future, and while I may do more in SL eventually right now the idea of anything like that that is not just work is not even possible. Which is kind of the other reason I had to write this post, because I cannot imagine ever picking up on this blog and not having had some part of him in between. I need him to sit here in the middle of the past and the future whatever that is, if I do blog again or if I never do, he is here now, he exists outside of my heart. You would have loved him, he was hilarious and honestly every day was filled with me laughing so loud that my ugly crying now pales in comparison.
Everything is going to hurt forever, it may dissipate eventually, but I don’t actually want that to be anytime in the near future anyway, he deserves my pain my broken heart, my absolute devastation at him not being here holding my hand and telling me he is going to replace me with a robot one day. He deserves everything reminding me of him, no matter how silly it is that it triggers pain in my heart, all I really care about is knowing that deep down I know that he knew he was loved, wholeheartedly by my Mum and I for over 4 decades, and while the last five years was the most intense, he had a last years life that he was happy in every day, and had I not just stood up to that rude nurse and said I was moving in with him when they were trying to put him in a home, that would have not been the case. For him to have had that, for him to have been loved that much, that he changed lives, is something that I got to tell him often, and while he used to laugh it off, I know that he was proud to be the kind of Man that deserved that much love.
Because he was so funny, I often recorded him so that Mum could hear what had been going on in our home, I won’t share pictures obviously, but while this is probably only funny to me, I wanted this to also show what I am missing now everyday.