Recollections

22 Aug

Some bloggers may not want to read any more about the lives of Gaby and David.  However I am still at this stage where I keep thinking about it a lot. Recently I wrote two long replies to comments from ‘Words fall from my Eyes’ and ‘Island Traveler’. Just for recollection I want to publish these two replies here. They only touch on the lives of Gaby and David. But anyhow here is what I wrote:

Wow, Noeleen, there’s so much to remember. Both had kind, big hearts. But Gaby was very demanding. It did get too much for David over the years. He just wanted to be left alone. He led a very unhealthy life over many years and often drove Gaby’s carers round the bend with little bursts of energy, screaming, yelling. this sort of thing. But most of the time he would stay semi conscious in his room. A nursing sister who would come to see him after he had been in hospital for a while he would chase away. He would not visit his siblings any more. They just could not cope with him. The only person who could always cope best with him was his long time friend Steve. But even he could not do much for him after Gaby had died and it was apparent David could not cope on his own. However he strictly refused to make any changes in his living arrangements. until he collapsed last Christmas. Sheila, his neighbour, noticed and called an ambulance.

It’s very sad when someone ends like this. But I think he went peacefully. And this is a comfort. We do remember a lot of good things about David. He was the only person who would take on the challenging task of taking on a life together with Gaby, and he did so out of his big good heart. He stuck with Gaby right to the end. I think he had the feeling that he could not desert her. Yes, great honour to him! Dear, dear David and wonderful life loving and caring Gaby!

—–

You are right, IT. It was quite amazing how Gaby always tried to be there for David. It must have been very difficult for her at times. Everyone kept telling her that David was too sick to stay at her place. He should be in a nursing home where he’d be given proper care. When Gaby died last year David refused to move to a different place. Any attempts by his siblings to help him were in vain. David just did not want to be helped!
For as long as Gaby was alive, the house got cleaned by Gaby’s carers. The carers often had a hard time when David was in a bad mood. If something displeased him, he would shout at them. We often wondered how Gaby and the carers could cope with all this.

The last few months of his life David received very good care in  Parramatta Nursing Home.. He was not allowed alcohol; and cigarettes he could afford only very few and had to smoke them in some outside area, wheeling himself out there a few times every day. He could not eat very well any more. It turned out there was something wrong with his gall bladder apart from many other things. But he was not an angry man any more. He didn’t give the staff any trouble. I think they liked looking after him.

For years David had always told me: Don’t worry, Mama! I could not make him change his mind about anything. 

The youngest brother of David, Anthony, took very good care of David after he collapsed last Christmas and ended up in hospital again. During the two months in hospital they had to amputate his left leg below the knee. After this he spent the last months of his life  in Parramatta Nursing Home. It’s good to know that he did get proper care there and was able to die peacefully.

– – – – –

Gabriele (Gaby) was Peter’s and my first born daughter, an extremely lively child who was struck down by poliomyelitis on her fourth birthday. She ended up being a quadriplegic. She also had breathing difficulties and needed to sleep in an Iron Lung. Towards the end of 1989, when Gaby was 32 and David 40, they moved in together into a house provided by the Department of Housing. David became Gaby’s main carer at this stage. But David was never Gaby’s only carer. At that stage Gaby was always provided extra outside help. And when David needed a break, there was always one carer who could sleep in Gaby’s house overnight so she wouldn’t be alone in the house. When we were much younger  Peter and I would sometimes stay together with our youngest daughter Caroline in the house for a few nights so that David could have a break. When David was supposed to go on holidays for five nights, he often would return already after three nights. That would then mean we, Peter, myself, and Caroline, would be able to drive back home after three nights already.

Well, this is just a bit about the lives of Gaby and David.

Peter and David in an outside area of the Nursing Home

Peter and David in an outside area of the Nursing Home

David was allowed to have his lunch outside. But he hardly touched it.

David was allowed to have his lunch outside. But he hardly touched it.

David gave me this Mother's Day gift on the day Peter and I visited him. He said he had bought raffle tickets to win this to give it to me. I was very touched by this.

David gave me this Mother’s Day gift on the day Peter and I visited him. He said he had bought raffle tickets to win this to give it to me. I was very touched by this.

Here is ow another recollection I want to add:

With some departed loved ones you get the feeling that it was time for them to leave. You are grateful for the times they could be in your lives. But when the time runs out you have to accept that they really want to be somewhere else. In my family’s case I think they are at peace and with God, which is a great comfort. I am very touched by what both families did to give them the last rest. Both our daughter Gaby and her long time carer David led rather difficult lives. But there were times when they could greatly enjoy each other. And Gaby was always very life confirming and always found ways overcoming some of her disabilities. Last year Gaby died rather suddenly but knowing her disabilities not all that unexpectedly. She died when she was the most happy. David survived her by a bit over a year even though he had been in extremely bad health for many years. David’s family gave him a very good funeral and I was very touched by this.
When our daughter died so suddenly last year it was our family who put together to give her a good parting. Sadly David had neglected to inform his family. So they weren’t part of the celebration of Gaby’s life. Yes, I feel very sad about this. We shouldn’t have left it up to David to inform them. Somehow we thought because he had informed us about Gaby’s passing he would be able to ring someone in his family too. But he didn’t.
Last Mondays celebration of David’s life somehow made up for it now. We were able to talk to David’s four brothers and three sisters.

22 Responses to “Recollections”

  1. catterel August 22, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    It’s good to revive memories and remember people – the good and not so good, for after all everyone is human! It sounds as if they tried to make the best of many bad situations, and what they achieved was admirable. They live on in your memories.

    • auntyuta August 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      Yes, they do. Thanks for commenting, Cat. Very much appreciated.

  2. Pocket Perspectives August 22, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Thank you for sharing this with us… it sounds like everyone tried so hard to support each other, in whatever ways they were able… what tremendous kindness…

    • auntyuta August 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      It was really rather frustrating at times and we had to battle with feelings of helplessness about what to do in this situation. For us, to accept everything the way it was turned out to be the only option. Over the years we more or less learned to live with this. I don’t know whether we’ve always been as kind as we could have been. It’s sometimes not so easy to show that you care.
      Is it Kathy from Pocket Perspectives? (I’m not sure about the name.)
      Anyway, thank you very much for commenting! 🙂

      • Pocket Perspectives August 23, 2013 at 5:59 am #

        Yes, it’s Kathy from Pocket Perspectives.
        I have a similar type of long term challenge in my family… it takes a toll, and everyone just does as well as they can.

  3. auntyuta August 23, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    Thanks Kathy, and best wishes to you and your family!

  4. aussieian2011 August 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    I do like following your recollections Auntyuta, twinged with sadness but still holding beautiful memories, may Gaby and David live long in your garden of beautiful memories my friend.
    Aussie Ian aka Aussie Emu

    • auntyuta August 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

      Hi, Aussie Ian aka Aussie Emu, thanks for following my recollections! Thanks you very much. Auntyuta.

  5. berlioz1935 August 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    The night after Dave’s funeral I was dreaming of Gaby the very first time. She was in a different room from us, divided by a glass partition – just looking on. Perhaps there is a message in that?

    • auntyuta August 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

      Yes, Berlioz, perhaps there is,

  6. giselzitrone August 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Liebe Ute wünsche dir einen schönen Tag es ist gut Erinnerungen zu haben wenn sie auch so schön sind aber auch traurige bleiben in unseren Herzen,ich habe auch alles in mein Herz geschlossen, das ist wieder so ein schöner Bericht von dir ist gut das ich es übersetzen kann.Ich hoffe es geht dir gut,wir sind noch bis Sonntag an der Ahr das schöne Wetter muss man nutzen.Ich wünsche dir ein gutes glückliches Wochenende mit lieben Grüßen von mir.Gislinde

    • auntyuta August 23, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

      Danke, liebe Gislinde, und habt noch ein schönes Wochenende an der Ahr! Ja, mir geht es gut. Liebe Grüsse, Uta.

  7. rangewriter August 24, 2013 at 4:18 am #

    A very touching post Auntyuta. It must be very difficult for you, even though you have found peace. The loss of a child never goes away.

    • auntyuta August 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Thanks Linda for your touching words. Gaby caught polio on her fourth birthday. Soon after she was close to dying. And we felt we were about to lose her. Yet miraculously she survived, being completely paralysed up to her neck. Some time later the doctors told us she’d have a life expectancy of thirty years at the most. This is why we think it is close to a miracle that she was able to live till she was nearly 55. She was such a life loving person despite all her disabilities. And she loved her family and a great many people. Of course we will always remember her. To me it is important to feel that she and her long time carer David are at peace. This feeling gives me comfort.

  8. chrisstov August 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    A very moving story. Thank you.

    • auntyuta August 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

      Thank you, Chrisstov, for reading and commenting.

  9. WordsFallFromMyEyes August 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Aunty Uta, it’s good you shared that long comment – it was a good comment. You know, sometimes I give a fair bit away in replying to people, too. It’s good you posted it. And if you don’t mind me saying – I really appreciate you spell my name right.

    You’re obviously still feeling so much. I read your comment above re the diagnosis at 4, then the prognosis of 30 years of life. Indeed, 55 years is a bonus.

    I wish you peace, Aunty Uta.

    N’n.

    • auntyuta August 26, 2013 at 6:22 am #

      Thanks, dear Noeleen, thank you very much.
      Your comments mean a lot to me.
      Wishing you and Daniel a very good week!
      Auntyuta.

  10. Island Traveler August 25, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    A beautiful story with so much love, tenderness and memories that will always bring a sense of joy knowing we shared amazing moments with the people we care about. Thanks for pouring out your heart post after post. God bless my friend….

    • auntyuta August 26, 2013 at 6:18 am #

      Thank you so much much for your heartfelt comment, dear IT. I feel it is somehow disturbing when we just cannot do a bit more for people we care about. Maybe I just have to forgive myself that I could not do more for them. I have to accept that there are limits to what I can do. I trust in a loving God who knows best ….

  11. gerard oosterman August 26, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    Yes, sometimes life deals us cards that are incomprehensible and hard to understand. We have come to accepts few families are without those experiences that seem so baffling and unjust.
    We are almost at a year that our lovely daughter went away. This time last year, we were every day on the phone and yet, a few weeks later, it was over. Her purse with cards are still sitting in the tray next to my computer.
    You and Peter are magnificent in sharing Gaby and David’s story with us.

    • auntyuta August 27, 2013 at 7:59 am #

      I am very sorry about your daughter, Gerard. Even though there are some sad things in our lives we can still enjoy life a lot of the time and appreciate all the good things that are given to us.
      Thank you very much for commenting, Gerard. I always love to hear from you!

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