The tyranny of distance and isolation

Distance is often associated with the word tyranny, but never more so than in this time of self-isolation. Distance from Dad and from a dear friend who has just past away is weighing on us and sending us in a spin. Warning, this is not a feel good post. But sometimes things are hard going and you know by now this blog is about life as we experience it, not a rosy pretence or fictitious tale.

Let’s start at least with one positive. Six weeks after his brachytherapy Wade drove to Melbourne yesterday, for an MRI and CT scan. This is a good thing done and a significant milestone reached in his prostate cancer journey. It will be another three weeks before we find out the outcome. Why it takes that long to get reports done and the Skype consult with the radiologist to happen, who knows? Although we don’t have any concerns, we wish we could get confirmation all is done and dusted without having to wait so long. This next important step happens in mid May. Fingers crossed it all goes well!

Let us return to more carefree times like these

A far less positive journey and a source of sorrow in our life is Papa’s predicament in France. In our previous post we mentioned he had a bad fall and broke the neck of his femur, on top of being in the final stage of pancreatic cancer. He has since had another fall, is in a state of great confusion. The cruel point is that with the pandemic he is in complete lockdown. No family is allowed to visit him to comfort him. He is lonely, feels abandoned, depressed, lost, and is fading away on his own. Our only possible connection was by mobile phone and WhatsApp. However with his decreasing physical capacity and mental acuity, phone calls have become extremely challenging for him. My sister and now myself call the nurses on a land line and they then alert him. It is heart breaking to hear him struggle with his words and thoughts. Every day gets harder as he gets weaker and less coherent. We are dreading the advent of THAT phone call but also wishing the end is near for his sake. Last night he told me he has had enough. I told him we love him and it is okay to let go. But can he?

And then as if this was not enough sadness, a dear friend of ours, Baz (Barry Dunphy), who had been battling lung and oesophageal cancer, took a turn for the worst and died on Wednesday morning. We were unable to be with him and his wife Lyn to hold their hand. We had been following their ups and downs for several years and knew it would not end well, but it is still terribly painful to get to this point.

Sometimes only one person is missing, but the world feels empty

Baz is in a kinder place now, and we hope that for Papa deliverance will come soon, in as little pain as possible. We love them both. They will never really leave us.

Stay close to your loved ones.

26 thoughts on “The tyranny of distance and isolation

  1. It is so hard being unable to get to people at the moment isn’t it? A friend just lost his son in a car accident too. Grieving is hard enough when you can be around close friends and family but it must be so much harder when you literally can’t be together. Glad to hear Wade is ok. Sending my thoughts to you and your Dad xxx

    • Thank you Viki. Yes the inability to be close is felt sharply. In France they are talking about easing restrictions in nursing homes but family will still not being able to be physically close. They are looking at setting up a room with glass screens separating visitors and patients and talking through phones… just like in jail! It is cruel.

  2. Really sorry to hear guys, but the positive is with Wade’s recovery. Great to hear. Keep your heads up, and thanks for the great warts and all blog. Cheers, Craig.

  3. Our condolences Chris and Wade for the loss if your friend Baz and your feelings of despair in being helpless to be with Lyn or with Papa. We are thinking of you.
    Just a little while to wait for the results of Wade’s tests.
    Robert’s dad passed last Friday and the awkwardness is the limitation on funeral attendees to 10. Paul was such a gentleman and very much loved. But the limits restricted his many friends from seeing him off. At least immediate family were with him.
    Keep positive Chris. Enjoy a sundowners this afternoon, and take each day as another beaut day to be on your fabulous Cat, Anui. 😃
    Take care
    Waz and Lisa

    • So nice to get your message Waz and also Lisa’s own comment. Please pass on my sympathy to Robert. Losing a loved one is hard enough, but made tougher by the restrictions. I suspect there will be a memorial or a celebration of Paul’s life at a later stage, just like there will be for Baz.
      It is a time of extremes for us and many people: some great highs and awful lows, but the highs are there. Love – Chris & Wade

  4. Hello Chris and Wade,
    Sending much love to you both. Thankfully you are equipped to handle life’s Inevitable challenges with poise and strength. We’re thinking of you both now and especially your Papa.

    • Thank you so much Lisa. It is tough going, but it is also a time when we really focus on doing everything we can to make our life easier. Wade is philosophical and better able to distance himself from sadness than I am. It’s just one day at a time at the moment with great variations in emotions.

  5. Hi Chris and Wade, haven’t spoken for ages but your message hit a nerve so I felt a need to send you a message of hope. After this time has passed we will certainly value more our family and friends. Keep smiling. Clive.

    • Hello Clive, very nice to hear from you. Yes there will be a few aspects that will be different. These times of crisis are a strong reminder of what matters. Stay well.

  6. Hey, SO looking forward to the time when we can give you a hug, swap lies (er – stories), and pretend to believe each other at Sundowners.
    For me, I found at the time, that by going through photos of my parents I took the edge of the ‘now’, and relived the lives and good times that we had had together. Remembering them with fondness as we were then, as well as comforting them as best as I could in the ‘now’.
    It’s hard. We feel for you.
    It’s great that Wade tracked his PSA and got to do something timely rather than be blithely unaware.
    Paul & Sjany

    • Thanks Paul & Sjany. We are desperate for a big hug! Thanks for the thoughts. I have been cherishing a couple of photos of my Dad from the last few trips, when things weren’t perfect but a hell of a lot better than now.
      We are very lucky for Wade that he tracked, took action when the specialist recommended it, planned to be in Melbourne to get it sorted and it all got done before the plague hit the fan! Take care of each other.
      Chris & Wade

  7. Chris & Wade, it is with sadness I read of the death of your friend Baz. It is always difficult to loose a person you love but he will remain with you both forever as you recall the times you have shared with him and are able to laugh at the funny events you have all shared.

    My thoughts are with you as well as a you watch from afar your Dad’s situation which is not only painful for you but for him and Vero.

    I am glad you survived your tests Wadie, let’s hope for good results eh.

    Look after yourselves my friends. Love Sue

  8. We feel for you guys. A lot of suffering all at once. Claire’s dad recently back from his 3rd hospitalisation, nearly died twice, but at least we are here and able to support them both. All blessings!

  9. Sorry to hear about Nipper (Baz). He always lived life to full and larger than life character. Awful situation with your dad. We have my mother-inlaw locked up in her house with a carer and her dementia makes it hard for her to understand. There are growing calls for ending the lockdown over here although I think it will be slow. Stats are showing that most of the gains in supression of the virus occurred prior to full lockdown due to self imposed distancing and anti-transmission measures. Couple this with new evidence that being outdoors also reduces transmision (UV light kills the virus in both aerosols and on surfaces) compared to being cooped up indoors. One can only hope.

    • Hi Phil. Yes from what we gather, they will look at easing restrictions in France around mid May, but talking about visiting rooms in nursing homes set up with glass panels separating patients and visitors and phones for communication – just like in jail! No touching, no physical contact. We hope he will not have to endure this… It is still three weeks away…

  10. Hi Christine – things have been very challenging for you all. End of life is never easy but in the current environment it will be a very lonely experience for many sadly. Good luck re Wade, fortunately we live in a time when wonderful treatments are available. Take care Christine and keep safe down there, it is a wonderful part of the world.

    • Thanks Tim. It’s a blast from the past to get your comment. Yes lots of challenges but also a great life in retirement. Look after yourself.

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