Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – My Dad’s a Goldfish – Downhill slide by Mary Smith

Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

Time for the third post from the archives of author Mary Smith who manages two blogs for me to browse and select posts from. This week a post from My Dad’s a Goldfish which I am sure will strike a chord with those of you who have cared for elderly relatives suffering from dementia. I know it did with me.

My Dad’s a Goldfish – Downhill slide by Mary Smith

I had a holiday. The DH bought me a ticket to Vietnam for my 60th and off I went to stay with friends who were out there.

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One of many thousands of jaw-dropping beautiful shrines in Vietnam

I had a wonderful time although I suspected things were not going well at home when there was so little contact. In a way, I appreciated it because knowing there were problems would have made me anxious, especially as there was nothing I could have done about anything. On the other hand, we want to know, don’t we?

When I came home, the DH collected me from the station. The Goldfish was in the car. He didn’t speak to me, just stared out of the window. We arrived home and the DH said I should go in and he’d help the Goldfish out of the car. Only when we were inside did I realise what changes there had been in two weeks.

The Goldfish after a serious downhill slide

He had been admitted to hospital with urinary tract infection. The infection had cleared up but the person who had come home was little more than a human shell. I was totally dazed for the first few days back trying to make sense of the changes.

The Goldfish was no longer able to walk. He couldn’t move from his chair. He barely spoke. He needed to be helped to eat and helped to drink. The house is full of machinery – like the hoist and stand-aid.

Of course, I blamed myself for going away but fortunately did not say so as this could only be taken as a criticism of the care – or lack of it – DH and Wee-sis had taken of the Goldfish in my absence. I knew it would have happened even if I had been here.

We could never have managed without this piece of equipment – but how I hated it.

I kept quiet. I learned how to use the ‘stand-aid’ to transfer the Goldfish from his chair to his wheelchair, from his wheelchair to his bed, from his bed to the shower chair… I bought dishes whose bases could be filled with hot water so the food stayed warm during the long, long time it took the Goldfish to eat his meals. He did still enjoy his food. Sometimes helping him to eat made me think of a mother bird feeding a chick – his wide open mouth waiting for the next spoonful.

I didn’t cry, not then. I suppose in the moment there was no time for such self-indulgence, too much to do – but now the tears come. And they don’t help.

©Mary Smith 2016

I know how I used to feel when I left my mother for a week a month in the earlier days and you do need a break otherwise you are unable to sustain the constant need for vigilance. Even though they are in good hands, you worry. My thanks to Mary for sharing this with us.

A selection of books by Mary Smith

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A recent review Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni

Jan 24, 2019 Janice Spina rated it five stars

Drunk Chicken and Burnt Macaroni is a remarkable story of the lives of Afghan women as told by the author. She shares her adventures when she visits Afghanistan with her husband and son to start a clinic for women.

This book is a moving tribute to the courage, stamina and resilience of these women before the Taliban came to power there. The work that these women do to make broad changes to their lives is incredible in such adversity

The author’s work there helped these women realize how important it is to take care of their children’s health and their own. A school was set up to give these women the medical knowledge that they needed to.make a difference in their lives. It also enabled them to become stronger and more knowledgeable to help others and spread the word about the importance of being healthy and clean.

This book is a testament to women and their strength when they are needed to come forward. The Afghan men feared the women and their strength because it was not the way of Islam for women to be stronger than men. With some encouragement the men learned to be proud of their wives and what they were capable of doing to keep their family healthy and strong.

An engrossing read that makes this reader happy to be an American and live in the land of freedom and plenty. A must read for anyone who wants to learn about the difficulties women face in other countries.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads:

About Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

Connect to Mary Smith

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Thank you for joining us today and Mary would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

21 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – My Dad’s a Goldfish – Downhill slide by Mary Smith

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up -Herbie Hancock, Gems from Your Archives and Talkative Parrots. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

    • Thanks, Robbie. I know with Michael you know what it’s like when you need a break but feel so guilty about taking time out. I think this post was one of the saddest I wrote about looking after Dad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary I lost my dad earlier this year after months of minor illnesses backing up and eroding him. What I learned gives me new insights and a more profound appreciation to the story of your dad. My heart goes out to you and your dad and indeed all you family knowing now (slightly better ) what everyone went through. Your writing reflects our humanity … in the raw. Pxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Paul, I’m sorry for your recent loss. The loss of a parent is a real rite of passage, with all the thoughts and feelings which accompany it. Thanks for your kind words about Dad’s story.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a melancholy post Mary, but I totally get your angst upon leaving and trying not to worry while away. I can only imagine how hard it was on you emotionally to see your poor dad like that. You are truly a warrior woman. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

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