Monday 23 October 2017

A prayer for my mother that she can return to her beloved home

In 21st Century Ireland, the fatted rich are well looked after but it is a different story for the elderly, writes Joe Jackson

THIS story started at 7.02pm on April 4, 1978 when I pushed open the letterbox on the front door of our family home in Eden Villas and saw that my father, who was only 50, had fallen down the stairs and died. This fact alone has, not surprisingly, left me literally breathing to see Mom smile each time I arrive at that door ever since.

That's why I was instantly sent into a state of panic at lunchtime on August 11 this year when my mother opened that door and not only didn't smile -- we always smile whenever we meet -- or even seem to see me. Instead, with her pale blue eyes terrifyingly blank, she seemed to be staring at some distant object out in the villas, then, without saying a word, turned and zigzagged back towards a fireside chair into which she slumped.

"Mom, are you ok?" I asked, though I knew in my heart she wasn't. But now she didn't, or couldn't, hear me and was staring out our front window at what I began to see as death, though I hated having that thought. It was only then I noticed that she was struggling to breathe, like a proverbial goldfish out of water, so I shouted, "Mom, what's wrong?" She turned, looked at me, finally seemed to realise I was in her presence, smiled, and then said, "It's my breathing, son, but don't worry, I'm seeing the doctor at half two."

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