It had been a long, sad and sorry day
It was 3.30pm and I rushed to the Qantas counter with 30 minutes to spare….or so I thought. “Sorry you’re too late to check baggage. It’s 25 minutes to take off” I could get on the plane and leave my bag or catch the next flight with my bag. As my mother would have said : Hobsons choice. “Please, please, just this once” No way. “These are the rules, I can’t help you”.
So I arranged to catch the next flight which meant a three hour wait. I couldn’t even get drunk because I had to drive my car from the airport 25ks home. I was teary and distressed but no sympathy was forthcoming.
Sans bag I sat down on a seat in quite a prominent place in the departure area. I was not in a fit place emotionally to make my way through security yet. It came upon me like a tsunami. A blast of grief, pain, frustration and anger. It was loud, snotty and hicuppy. Great bawling exhaled breaths with little shrieks as I took in a new breath only to bawl it out as loud as I could. It was gut wrenching and painful.
After about 10 minutes I settled and then just sniveled quietly to myself. I realised during my ignominious crisis, that hundreds of people had walked passed me and not one person came to see if I was alright or ask if could they help. Not one.
Maybe that was what I deserved. After all, I my sister and I had just spent the day making my father’s car inoperable so he couldnt drive it then dragging him from his home to a respite centre and leaving him there alone. Yes he had almost killed himself with neglect, Yes his doctor wouldn’t release him from hospital to go home alone. Yes on the road he was a danger to himself and others. I tried to tell myself it was the right thing to do.
Almost 10 years later I think back on that day and I wonder. If I was faced with that decision again today would I tell the doctor to let Austin go home even though I know he would have died sooner. At least he would still have felt in control of his life and fate. Of course there would be consequences of that decision not the least being the possibility he might have taken someone with him if he’d still been driving.