Friday, July 20, 2012

Time Out

I am on Bowen Island for a couple of weeks, housesitting for my brother and his wife, who are off in Winnipeg performing her play "The Jackie Show". They tell me it has been very well received, so I am happy for them. They are lovely talented people. My brother built the house that I am sitting, and it reflects his thoughtful and whimsical spirit.
Above is looking out from the deck over to his workshop, which happens to have a sod roof. Various mosses and hardy succulents have self seeded themselves over the years.
He has a place to sit and look out towards the ocean. The sun is just setting here, and the warm light makes the plants glow.
This is looking towards the back of the property from the deck. When he bought the land it was just a mess of blasted rock. Over time he built pathways and walls from the rubble, and the cleared rock face turned out to have enough water trickling over it to form a pool at its base. A miraculously placed piece of circular stairway was one of my brother's inspirations.

I am spending my time in the garden, weeding and playing ball with Gracie. Her favourite game is to drop the ball in the pond and stick her face under the water to retrieve it. If the ball is too deep she looks forlornly at me until I roll up my pant legs and go wading to fetch it, which she finds particularly amusing. Ah, the simple pleasures of a dog.

I have also been filling in for my brother on his daily visits to a lady with ALS. Her illness is quite advanced, and she communicates by blinking her eyes, not being able to speak or move any other part of her body. I read to her and rub her feet, and am learning the communication system used in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly". I would say she is very patient with my bumbling way with the alphabet, but it is arrogant of me to assume and really, impossible to know. I can tell she is deeply sympathetic - yesterday the TV news was on, and a couple of awful stories brought tears to her eyes. She is very pretty and still quite young, having just retired to Bowen when her illness was diagnosed. I found it hard to get to sleep last night thinking of her. It is quite humbling to spend time with her and makes my own little travails seem quite insignificant.

6 comments:

  1. I wonder when someone is as sick as this lady: would I wish to live if I were in her place? What would my life be without my stitching, writing, walking and all the rest? Has medicine gone too far in giving us a life without really being alive?
    On the other hand, your brother's creativity is amazing.
    Thank you, this is a post that will stay with me during the day.

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  2. What a life! Hopping from one island to another. ;)

    ALS is one nasty nightmare disease. Unlike Alzheimer's it doesn't even wait until you are old and takes your body but leaves your mind aware. Horrible! Your brother (and you) are so kind to spend time with her. I know I sure learned a lot when I spent several years hanging out in the care home with my late mom. She had vascular dementia.

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  3. onesmallstitch9:49 PM

    take care to nourish yourself, Heather it can be a very exhausting experience. Love the sod roof. Ran the accordion book making past my granddaughter today think it passed with flying (pink!) colours.

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  4. that has to be down somewhere by either Miller's Landing or the Hood! SO gorgeous, i miss Bowen!!!!!

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  5. Their place is on Adams Road between Tunstall and Bowen Bay, looking west I believe. It is really lovely.

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  6. I read gracious compassion when you wrote about the lady with ALS. Both you and she.

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