Visiting Lismore

It’s warm, it’s humid, it’s Thursday and I’m back briefly in Lismore. For a while earlier today, for the first time since I’ve been home, the humidity threatened to turn into actual rain, but unfortunately nothing eventuated. The dark clouds that earlier hovered over what was Lismore Post Office have turned to blue. It’s funny, isn’t it, how I still think of it as the Post Office, even though the post office functions moved out maybe twenty years ago.

And it’s not just the Post Office that’s changed. I’ve just had lunch, for example, with some friends at a new Italian place that’s recently opened on Keen Street. Lunch was great, the conversation was great, but in the back of my mind was a memory of the newsagent that used to be in the building.

As I wander around Lismore every person, every building, every location seems to remind me of something from my past. Unfortunately, not always good memories. You see a building, a place, a person, and something awful comes to mind. Maybe it’s something about human nature, or maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just that because I’ve been away for such a long time, it’s only the very intense memories that remain. Like music and smells, it’s amazing how buildings, in particular, can evoke strong memories.
This is particularly the case with my “family home”. This was the house that my dad’s parents lived in, and then mum and dad, and then mum’s mother and uncle. It was also the house in which I was born and raised. But for various “family reasons”, it’s a house I haven’t stepped foot in for almost twenty-five years. With the recent death of my uncle who has been living there, and it’s purchase by a second-cousin it almost feels like its a family home again. A sign, perhaps, that 2007 will be a year in which contact with my family will be extremely important.

The most distressing and direct reasons for this is that my sister is quite ill, suffering with both Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia. She’s had the Parkinson’s for a few years now, but the Dementia has only recently developed. Along with my other two sisters, my niece and her son, I drove to Brisbane yesterday to visit her in the nursing home in which she’s currently living. While at times she’s coherent, there are other times when she struggles. Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m not sure, she’s aware of the ways in which her mind and body are failing, and she sometimes becomes upset with herself for not remembering things. Please say a prayer, if you’re so inclined.


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