Monday, August 26, 2013


1 : to reduce the violence of (a disease); also : to ease (symptoms) without curing the underlying disease

2 : to cover by excuses and apologies

3 : to moderate the intensity of palliate
the boredom>

Examples of PALLIATE

  1. treatments that can palliate the painful symptoms of the disease
  2. palliate
your constant lying by claiming that everybody lies>

Origin of PALLIATE

Middle English, from Late Latin palliatus, past participle of palliare to cloak, conceal, from Latin pallium cloak
The process of palliative care is beginning for my father. Last time he was in hospital one of the doctors used the sentence "and if his condition worsens we will begin to palliate".
I had never heard it used as a verb before, the verb 'to palliate'.
What does that actually mean? These definitions don't cover my perception of its meaning. They don't say it out loud.
Does it mean making him comfortable as he slowly disappears,  as that grip on my hand slowly weakens and slips my grasp?
Does it mean cloaking and concealing the final stages of this long drawn out disease, which has locked and isolated my father in his body, losing one stage of function at a time, step by step, word by word over 13 years. This disease that has reduced him, physically, but made us blow up the memory of him to 'larger than life'.
There is  no cloaking, no concealing the outcome of this palliation.
We don't know how much longer we have with our father, maybe weeks? Maybe.
All we can do now is hold his hand to keep him company, as Mum and the carers make him comfortable.
We wait. 
We palliate.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Catching Breath

The last few months have brought subtle shifts, big moves and epic events to us Smiths, as most 'few months' in a family seem to do.

A little home renovation that choked us with plaster dust and paint fumes, has now sent a breath of fresh air into our wee house. The clean,newly painted bedrooms and hallway, a luthier-made wardrobe and a new spot for our beloved art, has gifted some organisation, peace and ease into our sleep spaces. 

A 12 week transformation, meant planned meals and regular exercise and a commitment to self-care on a scale never before successfully carried through, by this master-excusemaker. I am not sure I can say that my body was 'transformed' exactly, but what it did for my spirit has been remarkable. Who knew self- love lay in the increasing kms on a treadmill or that extra weight on the bar in a pump class? That's not where I expected to find it, that's for sure. I though it only existed in the reducing number on the scales.  But as the fitness numbers went up, what had been the dreaded weekly weigh in mattered less and less.  But I do know that everyone likes to see the numbers, and if I helps to convince anyone to take such a programme on I'll tell you mine: 
I've lost 7.5 kilos, 48 cms, a minute from my 1km run time, I have gained the ability to do push ups on my toes and now I miss exercise when I don't do it and best of all, I like myself a lot more.) 

Shift again. This is the shift to working 5 days a week again. It's a good job working with nice people, but damn!-work sure gets in the way of an exercise program. However, needs must when you throw financial caution to the wind, and commit to sending your 3 kids to a private school. Mind you, its a commitment worth every hour of work and every penny, in my opinion, to have my kids in a school where they are known, recognised and cherished. And it is an easier burden to shoulder when you work for someone who thanks you every day. 

My beautiful J performed in his drama school's production of 'The Music Man' this week. I am constantly overwhelmed at the commitment of teachers and parents to make stuff happen for kids. All those sporting coaches, little athletics timekeepers, eisteddfod organisers etc who give their time and energy so that children can have opportunities - they are incredible. 'The Music Man' saw the kids involved in a gruelling rehearsal schedule, giving up entire weekends and late nights, but it was all worth the pre-teen grumbling, it was a hit! And J has made new friends for life. 

The smalls are chugging along with their usual mess, hilarity and bickering. Soph fell through the unzipped trampoline in the school holidays which left her with a greenstick fracture to her right wrist, a brother-assisted accident, which didn't slow her down much. Her writing from both hands is now impeccable. (She certainly doesn't get that from me. I take after my GP father in the illegible handwriting stakes.) 

The luthier's genius is becoming more widely recognised. His work schedule now extends well into next year and musicians from around the country are seeking out his work. It's a slow and steady business, the work of the violin maker and it is  so gratifying to see his efforts praised and loved. 

So now, here we are, lying in bed,healthy and strong, with a little less time but a bit more comfort, breathing in the cool winter air and wondering what shifts the Spring breezes are bringing us.