Tom is 85 and a precious relic from the old world. He is down to earth and frugal, the simple things make him happy. Tall, charming and strong in his stained khaki overalls, he can chop wood for hours, dig deep holes to plant trees or mend broken pipes, and carry heavy furniture up and down the stairs. Lazy is the last word to describe him.
He is my loyal helper and comes most weeks to fix things around the house or build little aids that help me care for mum. Some of his projects include installing all the handrails throughout the house and building the wooden bars around mum’s bed, without which she would’ve fallen countless times. In addition, he’s constructed little wooden sofa arm-covers for mum to rest her cup of tea and a drop down shelf outside mum’s room for her breakfast tray or other paraphernalia on its way to the kitchen or laundry. He’s assembled all the various sized shelves in her room, each more useful than the next.
‘Tom days’ are the days I come alive. They are my best days because we do projects together inside and outside the house. I can suggest any wacky idea which we nut out together and then Tom makes the final product. I’ve learnt so much from him, especially DIY problem solving.
We always have a morning cuppa and a chat together around 8.30am, discussing the latest news or his family, who all live interstate. I then read out my list of jobs we need to get on top of. At around 11.30am we stop for lunch where we have another big chat on random topics. Whoever is in the house at the time joins us - Diane the carer, Coby, Lina, Sisira - there is always someone coming and going.
Amongst Tom’s many talents is his operatic voice. Mum is overjoyed when he serenades her with his repertoire of golden oldies. This morning’s choice is ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ from Oklahoma. His powerful voice fills the room, mum’s face lights up and the two of them reach the final note with arms outspread.
These are the joyous moments.
Tom & me
A happy rainy hard working day
In memory of Tom (Z"L) who passed away last week, 18.8.21.
He was a treasure - thoughtful, humble, self-effacing, generous - and his memory will continue to live on in me.