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The Watchers

Watching someone you love die, is probably one of the hardest things anyone can do. Watching them deteriorate is impossible to do, and yet someone has to and many do it daily. They are not the observer who visits periodically they are the ones who do the washing and ironing, the washing and dressing, the sit to stand, they make space for the equipment, the walking frame, the bed, the toilet equipment, the hoist, they clear away the memories of a home loved and lived in and put the equipment in, despite the implications of its presence. The knowledge that one day the equipment will be gone, as will the one they love.

They watch as their loved one becomes more frail, less themselves as they become more illness and less the person we know. All the time they are present, a stable factor in a changing world.

Part of you dies when you watch someone die. Fractures a part of you, perhaps its the soul. Whatever it is it changes one for ever.

You age in a way others do not. In some it is physical, in others it is psychological. Everyone is unique and different, but it's visible to some, who have seen it in themselves and their relatives and friends.

To watch is lonely. To delay your own needs and wants in the ultimate preference of the dying, for weeks or longer. Demands that you put aside yourself, you see from their perspective. But in doing this you acquire treasure. One that few others will ever see and it's unique to you alone. You get to have conversations, reminiscence, time alone with them. As time goes on it may become non verbal, looks and the tiniest movement only. You get to see the sighs of peace for a moment when they are fed, thirst is quenched or they are comfortable for a moment. You get to share the silence in the long hours before dawn, simple touches, some for personal care or feeding, some is just holding hands or a gentle cuddle. A time when they are not in pain, are orientated or just themselves. When you share a simple joke, a piece of fruit, a reminiscence or they acknowledge you as the person you are, who they have always known. No one else has these treasures. The memories of them could remind you of the hardest time in your life, but I prefer to think of them as my own treasure, the gift I received for my hard work. Forever in my memory,to be cherished, despite the sadness

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