Bacon sandwich, chocolate biscuits and us
Kath Sharman reflects on faith amid difficult family life
I wasn’t prepared for the phone call from Dad on that bright and breezy morning in March, asking where Mum was. At one time, I would have had a flippant answer and we would have exchanged some father/daughter banter. However, this day, the question rendered me speechless with shock, as Mum had passed away two years previously.
I also wasn’t prepared when Dad rang again at three the following morning, making me jump out of bed, heart pounding. He asked if the fish and chip shop was open.
I was still less prepared for the loud knocking on Dad’s door, later that morning, as I was making his breakfast. I found two policemen on the step who were following up a 999 call from this address made by an old man saying he had been kidnapped and was being held hostage. Luckily, they understood after meeting Dad, who was quite happily sat on the sofa, tucking into his bacon sandwich, chuckling at the antics of Foggy, Clegg and Compo on his favourite TV programme, Last of the Summer Wine. He looked at the officers as if they were being ridiculous and denied making any such call.
No amount of preparation could have lessened the impact of walking into Dad’s house one morning to find him ranting and raving that somebody had broken in and stolen all his knives, forks and spoons out of the cutlery drawer. I managed to calm him down and all the missing objects were eventually found in his bin outside.
I knew deep down that there was a major problem, but I still wasn’t prepared for him to be referred to the memory clinic, or for the devastating diagnosis: Alzheimer’s. Seeing the word in black and white shook me out of the comfort of my denial and made me face the hard, heartbreaking truth that we were losing Dad. This was definitely one of those: ‘Why God, why?’ moments…
Kath Sharman is a writer and carer. She chaired local youth offending panels and was a support worker for the charity Home-Start
This is an extract from an article that was published in the June 2020 edition of Reform