Rajendra S. Wijesinghe
He happened to cry for small things. Especially when I was not around him or if he noticed I was about to go away, he usually cried. It was not that easy to convince him that I would return soon. I used never to get into outdoor attire in front of him, which stimulated him to start crying. I felt somewhat embarrassed at such occasions. I had no option than limiting my outside activities to suit his requirements. I did not see any practical solution to that effect.
When the daylight was diminishing, and the darkness appeared in the night, his behavioural pattern changed. At times he was unable to identify me. He was in search of his son. Occasionally, he got down from the bed and approached the door to go out of the room in search of his son. All my efforts to convince him that I was his son were in vain.
“Who are you?” he asked. “Wait, my son will fish you off.”
On the following day after such incidents, he used to elaborate me “There was a big made guy inside the room. He did not let me reach you. I hit him. He started crying and vanished off.” As I observed, elders are sensitive to changes in the light.
In concern to my father, he suffered significant losses; the demise of my mother over three decades ago and my parting with migration to a western country a decade ago. However, with my return, he seemed to enjoy my stay with him above the physical facilitation.
The loss of a significant relationship is difficult for elders. The elderly are especially susceptible to loneliness, as their long-term care environments can often remind them of their mortality. I observed from him the physical relocation, where the places and people are unfamiliar is challenging to bear up. Unfamiliarity with a long-term care residence can heighten anxiety and the feeling of being uprooted from home and having to part with possessions. Remember, we are on the doorstep to experience and learn.