Robert Redford was lucky
Robert Redford was lucky
I spent a lovely evening with my 85 year old mother recently, watching the film “All is Lost”.
If you’ve seen the film yourself, you’ll know that it’s a solitary tale about an ageing yachtsman (Redford) sailing alone who is woken one night thousands of miles from land when his yacht strikes a floating shipping container.
The hull of his small yacht is punctured and begins to take on water.
The remainder of the film is harrowing, edge of the seat stuff, as Redford tries everything he can think of to stop his yacht sinking and to find someone to come to his aid.
He ends up floating around in the middle of a vast ocean in a life raft the size of a pocket handkerchief in the faint hope of drifting across shipping lanes, being seen and rescued.
My dear Mum, who seemed to enjoy the film immensely, has very recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is finding it harder and harder to remember what day of the week it is.
If I tell her I am going round to see her on the following Friday, she calls me every day between that conversation and then to ask me why I haven’t arrived.
So the other day I bought her a bright digital clock/calendar with a face the size of Big Ben which displays the day of the week and the date (day, date, month and year) in MASSIVE numbers and letters.
Yesterday it read…
18 DECEMBER 15
When I called her up later in the day, I took the opportunity to ask her what the date was, reminding her to look at her smart new digital device beaming away brightly from the corner of her living room.
“It’s 15th December” dear, she said proudly “and it’s so clear I can even see it without my spectacles which I put down yesterday but can’t find anywhere”
For a brief moment I thought of asking her whether she could see the irony of the situation but realised she’d likely just say that the last time she looked, the irony was in her bedroom on the ironing boardy.
Next to the beddy… where she had just tucked up Big Teddy… along with that faded black and white photo of me in my pram.
Robert Redford was lucky.
He still had his memory to help him.
When your memory goes, your ability to apply logic disappears right along with it.
I love my mum with all my heart and it’s at moments like these I’m so thankful that I had the foresight to obtain her Lasting Power of Attorney a few years back. This needs to be setup before a person begins to lose the capacity to make rational decisions.
Having this in place means I can do everything I need for my Mum without having to worry about legal obstacles. And as it’s a one off exercise it will never have to be done again.
Returning to the film, in the last few minutes , just as we think Redford is on his way to meet Davy Jones, a hand from the skipper of a tiny passing shipping boat reaches out to save his skin before his lungs fill with water.
In the end, despite choosing to take risks, Redford was very lucky.
But if you have a loved one who is anywhere near being affected mentally by the ravages of old age you just can’t afford to rely on luck or take any chances.