I N   S I L E N T   T R I B U T E

In Silent Tribute

Dieter Stratmann

When our father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease he entered a relentless process of physical and mental dissolution. It was a disease that progressed non-linear, in often unpredictable manners, turned time lines into blustering waves.

Days and weeks began to outline only loose frameworks to manoeuvre through the last years of a lifetime. Body movements faltered with increasing frequency and previous routines posed formidable challenges. Quietness and deceleration spread in a previously immersive, sometimes hectic, life.

As confusion occurred and the body weakened these objects became our father’s companions. They were there for him in troublesome times, providing aid and stability. Nevertheless, he condemned them.

While old people tend to conceal weaknesses the assistive devices conspicuously populating their surroundings, act like incorruptible witnesses to an undeniable truth.

The numerous appliances and tools invaded our father’s habitat, breaking the conventional norms of a carefully assembled household, evoking memories of a clinical environment.

When spotted in the house one would be reminded that our father’s life had got out of step. You would eye them upset and abashed, then try to avoid their discomforting presence.

As items on loan most utensils were hastily removed when out of use, today they serve their duty in other homes. Slowly had theses strange fellows occupied every corner of our house, forming an extension to our father’s life.

They grew old with him, bearing company in a silent process of decay. We should not fear them as harbingers of the end but meet them as reliable journeymen that deserve gratitude and tribute.