I have been contemplating mortality of late. Not necessarily my own although I should really make a will, but more that of my family and friends. My father has lost his short-term memory and has thus toppled over the top of the slippery slope. My poor mother is tired and exasperated. I found myself getting exasperated despite good intentions to be understanding and sympathetic.
What is the attitude one should take when confronted by such a situation? I tried to be matter-of-fact, repeating everything several times as though it was the first time I'd said it, and giving him simple tasks to help him participate. Sometimes, though it all fell apart, and I found myself coping with jokes such as singing the 'Mission Impossible' music as he tried to find the wine box in the kitchen, having used it 5mins previously.
I asked my mother if he gets frustrated, but he doesn't seem to. He seems to inhabit a parallel universe, and comes down to earth occasionally to shout at the boys for being silly. He's always been a bit absent, and this is amplified now. It's only when he is doing something out of the ordinary that he is more like his old self. Boredom triggers an aggravation of his condition.
Elsewhere, I have a friend whose husband is much older than her and, since her retirement has become unbearable to live with, convinced, as he is that she is looking for opportunities to leave him. This is not the case, but he is not to be placated, and will not let her do anything without him. He has become even more of a control freak and it's pushing her away, if not physically, then emotionally. Yet he needs her to cope with his daily life. It's the realisation of his own mortality that is frightening him to death.
We are so fragile and our demise is so inevitable, that we should really take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy life that we can. I feel, now that I am divorced, that I am able to enjoy mine for my benefit. It's a good feeling.