Dad, 90, in a care home

by Elizabeth

Dad, 90, in a care home

There he is, standing in the garden.
All on his own.
It's been almost ten years now.
Her cowslips and primroses still blossom in the spring

A little bent, a little bowed
The image is garbled, but the light still shines.
The words don't sound right, but the wind blows I love you from his lips.

Home now is different
He looks up, and tired old eyes find a smile
'I'll go out over the roof' he says
It's a bit like Colditz.
And you know. The legs are still strong. We all still watch.

He'll not let go of that light.
The Charlie in his heart is kicking the football over the green grass.
Grandad chasing a kite right across the Common,
Into the muddy stream beyond the hawthorn
A hero, welding toys back to life
A dangerous electrician, masking tape ready
Sparks flying from his hair, and his eyes.

He sees the white horses and the plough in the field as the electric train rushes by
Nature is still the same
Fantastic clematis scaffolding has been built
Modelled on little more than brown paper and B & Q plywood
Happy sawdust scattered in his hair

Sunny days made his head glow red
Oily stains on his best white shirt
The smell of oranges, diesel and fresh cut grass
Joy in the fresh air, chaos in the shed.

Now indoors, he stares at the screen and reads out loud as engines fire
Inside him, the world is alive, but indecipherable
He takes me to the station, sees me safely on the train
He drives for hours to wave goodbye at a remote bus stop
Now, revving Fangio speeds his mini up the hill, beating all who dare, free again

Jam tarts have gone missing,
Still hot from the oven
We all tasted them in that naughty smile,
A 7 year old home from school,
Seeking love in the kitchen
Finding iced rings at his bedside
Giving love with a sprinkle of glitter in his eye.

He is in his room now.
He's not alone
Loved and familiar ones come and go all the time
Carers smile and make his day
Francis is heard every hour
From time to time, the sparkle reappears.
A demon sometimes, but love prevails
The words often fail, but always now, the wind blows I love you from his lips.

This is for my Dad. I don't know if it will mean anything to anyone else. He has severe dementia and is often lost to us. But almost always he will find a way to tell us he loves us, somehow. It is a small miracle.

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