… a kind of Legal Column

Posts Tagged ‘Mum

At home on The Ranch with G’son Toes

with 3 comments

All of us need somewhere to call home. I’m very lucky in that while I was born and reared both in Dublin and to a lesser extent Dundalk, I’ve always had my family around me. Family to me is everything. I am also lucky that I had both sets of Grandparents to learn from as well as many Uncles and Aunts who I must say, I was extremely privileged to have known.

I was born in Killester, a suburb of Dublin in the 1950s. Dublin was a very different place than it is today. Poverty was widespread and a lot of the City was derelict. Tenements prevailed throughout the inner city and a lot of children could be seen playing with skipping ropes and other improvised toys. Hop Scotch was a popular game and if you had a football, well you were a popular kid. No PlayStations, Computer Games or even Mobile Phones were about in those days. You were ‘well off’ if you had a phone in your house ! My mother used to bring me ‘into town’ to do the shopping. While I remember it being tiring I also remember it being a fascinating time. Mum used to make her own clothes. Her father was a Tailor and Cutter and he certainly trained her well. Many a memory I have of calling into the Wollen Mills on the Quays, then across the Metal Bridge to a small shop where she’d buy the buttons, zips and such like. Then on to meet up with her friends and have a ‘chat’. We got the Bus everywhere. Only a few people had a car and I suppose when we got fed up with the Radio, we paid a visit to a friend’s house to watch their Tele. To watch Match of the Day, in Black and White, on a fuzzy screen was marvelous. Top of the Pops, if you could get BBC was amazing. They were tough times but I have nothing but good and fond memories of those days.

At the end of the month we used to take the train to Dundalk to see my Dad’s family. My Dad worked in British Railways so we had Privilege Tickets. This meant that we got a Return Ticket for half the price of a Single. I remember getting excited when the train crossed the Boyne after leaving the station at Drogheda and waiting to pass through Dunleer and then Castlebellingham. My Dad would point out the landmarks as we approached Dundalk. We’d take a Taxi from the station to Broughton Street where Grandad used to live. My cousins were great. I was the youngest grandchild and as my cousins were nearly all girls, we’d play house and of course I was always the baby/child. Ah those were the days.

While I have great memories I’m also very aware that others weren’t so lucky. Artane Boys School was ‘down the road’ from me in Donnycarney. On the outside the building looked amazing but unfortunately we now know, that all was not so rosy inside. Having met a number of the victims of child abuse who were resident there when I was a little boy growing up, I feel sorry that they were not able to have had the support of a family as I did.

When I had children myself, I made a pledge that I would try to be as good to them as my Mum and Dad were to me. I think we’ve done OK as a family despite marriage breakdown some years ago. It wasn’t an easy time but myself and the children got on with our lives. Now, being a Grandad myself I can watch the next generation starting out on their journeys in life. Toes, as regular readers of my ramblings will know, is my grandson. While he’s now approaching the terrible twos and showing appropriate signs 😦 I’ve had the privilege of being part of his life since the day he was born. Lisa and Eddie are good, doting parents and I wish them well. I, for my part have done my fair share of babysitting so far and none more so than in Texas this past summer. They say that travel broadens the mind and if that is so, then Toes has had a great start in life. I got on a plane for the first time when I was eighteen. Toes on the other hand, probably qualifies as a frequent traveller at this stage and he’s not even two !

Life without family would be unbearable for me. That is what life is all about. It’s what keeps me going. While I sit here in Texas with Toes and walk about the land, trying to keep up with him, us both dressed like we’re locals wearing our Cowboy Hats, I do realise what a privilege it is to be part of a loving family. We are very lucky and it is sad that all children don’t get the opportunities that both myself and now Toes enjoy.

LegalEagleStar , San Antonio, Texas, Tuesday, 27th. September , 2011.

Written by LegalEagleStar

September 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

You judge Society by the way we treat our Old People.

with 8 comments

I walked into her room yesterday and she looked very low, depressed. Tired of this world and the troubles brought on by old age. Her husband had died 11 years ago and while at first she got on with the routine of life, life itself became more of a struggle as time moved on. First, the thought of preparing Sunday Lunch for the family became such a chore that she just, well couldn’t cope. Panic attacks were starting to reappear and then she decided that she couldn’t cope with these anymore. So Sunday lunch for the family was no more. Then baking the brown bread that everyone loved was the next item which distressed her. That too went by the wayside. While still driving her beloved Volkswagen Golf to Mass each morning, her journeys were becoming less and less frequent. Dropping in to see friends and family were becoming a rare occurrence, as time moved on. Then sometime later several chest infections took their toll. She was losing her independence.

Eventually her short-term memory started to deteriorate. This caused her distress as she could not remember if she’s done something or not. Frustration with her circumstances eventually led to her entering a Nursing Home. Her own mother had been one of the first people into the home some forty years earlier. She had always said she’d love to end her days there but her failing memory was not making this the experience she’d contemplated all those years ago.

Two weeks ago she was taken to Beaumont Hospital with a suspected heart attack. Her breathing had been bad since last winter so the need for oxygen was crucial. She also needed medication for pain and these needs, coupled with her chest pains made her stay in Casualty all the more traumatic. It seems she was admitted to the Hospital shortly after arriving into Casualty so her time there was determined by how long it would take to acquire a bed and be moved into a Ward. The staff in the Hospital were, as usual, fantastic but her surviving on a trolley for over two days was cruel. During this time she became confused and it didn’t help that some of her personal possessions were lost. Maybe the Hospital prefer the word misplaced. Either way, her treasured Black Convent Beads which she clasped onto each day for the last, God knows how many years, are now denied her. This could be one of the reasons why today she feels so low. She doesn’t understand where they’ve gone. Her short-term memory problem makes her anxiety all the worse.

If it was not for the fantastic job that the Nuns, nurses and care staff do in helping her ‘cope’ with the hand that has been dealt her by life, she would most certainly try to take her own life. She says on many occasions that she just wants to die. She missed her husband. She is tired of the strains and battles that life has thrown up. She’s tired of life. She feels an imposition on her family. ‘They would be better off if I was gone’, she’ll repeat to those who’ll listen.

Today she was more upbeat than yesterday. While still having to have her meals in her room she is less anxious than yesterday. We have a chat about life and the hand it deals us. While clearly anxious, today she can talk about the good times and bad and asks about each of the family in a caring manner. She realises that her days are numbered but now wishes to help her family cope with their problems, big and small. This is the ‘Granny’ we all love and cherish and will be poorer when she has passed on. I tried to impress upon her the important part she plays in all our lives and how we will miss her when her time comes. Life will certainly be the poorer without her, whatever she may think from time to time.

How we treat our Old People is a reflection of the Society we live in. Today in Ireland, we must live in a very uncaring society and need to re access our values.

Hilda, my Mum will be 85 on September 16th,  if God spares her.

LegalEagleStar , Thursday , 25th. August , 2011

Written by LegalEagleStar

August 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm

%d bloggers like this: