I was with him again this weekend. It was so good just to sit with him in his confusion. Family is a constant for him - he recognises us and while he is not sure where or when he is, our presence calms him and gives him an anchor. I held his hand for a couple of hours while he talked or slept, my mum holding the other. When his eyes opened and he saw me and smiled, sighed and said "You're a good lad." I melted. I want to look after and protect him to carry this burden. Yet I have to leave and return to a different world of work and worry. In the last 2 weeks work has been unpleasant, hard. It feels beyond me at the moment, demanding skills I don't have, resources that I cannot summon. But the atmosphere has changed and it is all macho posturing now, alpha males striding their territory.
The petulant anger and behaviour of people has bemused me. When their tempers flared I just felt the pointlessness of it all. I felt like laughing in their faces, or alternatively smacking them....I am sure I could out alpha with an elbow strike. In a few decades none of this will matter. When all else starts to fade, it is the simple things: a smile, a hug, a look of love that create meaning and value.
That gives me strength. I know that I can walk away because what matters is not what they are worried about. The key is in the smiles, the love.
The hills remain. Family, my love and the hills remain. Whatever else is going on there is an escape. And fitness facilitates all that. If anything I can do will prevent me ending up like my Dad it is good and worthwhile. Yet beyond that we are all going to die. There is an end to all this. What goes on? What is really worthwhile?