This years Good friday has nothing to do with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but everything with the "resurrection" of Frank. When I came in today he sat in the wheel chair, dressed up, nicely groomed (they really take good care of him in Kalorama). He was waiting for the physiotherapist and to ease the waiting time, Rense and I took Frank out on the balcony.
Kalorama is a beautifully located nursing home in the hills surrounding Nijmegen, with a marvellous garden in front. So we sat there and it was a perfect time for a new experiment. Since Frank is now allowed to have liquid, extra thickened, food (such as yoghurt, porridge, etc.), I brought him spa orange and cola (he had asked for that) and I asked the catering lady to prepare some thickened spa orange. Well all of you who have ever sufferd a good cold, including a lot of slimy snot, imagine you put all the slimy snotty stuff you produce in a glass and than you have thickend spa orange, eadible with a spoon. Looks aweful, but the good news, to Frank it tasted like the real thing so he finished it in minutes. He really enjoyed it. When we went inside, we just met the physio therapist so we went with Frank to the gym (did you say gym??? Frank in a gym......ah yeah, it's like a roman emperor in a star wars episode) and asked whether we could join him during therapy.
Now I don't know whether it was Renses and my presence or our cheering, but Frank did really well. Let me picture you what really good means: it's aprox. a half hour in which he lifts up his head 10 times, his right arm ten times, moves his trunk (with help from the therapis) five times, than some passive moving of the left shoulder by the therapist and then practicing what they call the safety grip (his right hand taking his left arm by the elbow). Furthermore the therapist asked Frank to touch her hand (differently positioned in space) and than you see quite good what problems he has with correct finding the hand and reaching to it. So I think his vision isn't optimal. And after all this the therapist took a huge blue balloon (aprox. 50 cm in diameter) and Frank had to slam against it, so to stimulate him Rense and I joined the exercise. The therapist was on his right side, Rense just in front him and I was on his left side. What you see than is that he is not really aware of the left side of his body or the world on that side, so I tried to help him by shouting "danger from the left" and with that bit of help Frank adequately reacted to my side, and that folkes is very hopeful. After about thirty minutes energy had vanished (but the therapist told us it was so much more than yesterday what Frank performed) and we went back to his room. At that point Rense had to go and the nurse and I helped Frank to return to his bed (which is also quite an exercise), and you all guess what the familiar sound was within 10 minutes.... exactly snoring. But not after he saw all the good stuff I picked up from his apartment (thunderbirds dvd's (so matthieu, you can keep yours, I found them) his backpack in which he always carries the books he's reading or studying). Content with all this and one of his books in his hands, he fell a sleep.
So the rest of the time I spend cleaning and rearranging his room, stickering all the new stuff (his wardrobe contains yet more books and dvd's than clothes, but that's nothing new, that's Frank's preferred habitat!). And finally all the page-large photographs Frank got from Wybo (about the opening of the liberation route and the south africa travel group) were put on the door of the wardrobe opposite to Frank, in the hope that he can see them when he's awake.
And after that it was quiet, peaceful and ok, so to me, it was a real good friday! A good prelude to the easter weekend. To all of you, enjoy the nice sunny weekend with lot's of eggs and good company.
Thousend times thanks!
To all the followers of the blog, to anyone who has been supportive of Frank or us in the last months and especially after his untimely death we want to say thanks from the bottom of our hearts. In the week after his passing we received so much warmth, stories, care and love, hardly describable. To us it was a very precious and valuable week and it was so good to have Frank at home where so many of his friends could visit him. And all the help, stories and info shared in that week led to a beautiful goodbye ceremony on a beautiful sunny autumn day. For those of you who could not attend, or those of you who wish to reread the funeral speeches, we publice them here (in dutch and english) with some pictures in grateful memory of, and tributed to Frank.We will miss him dearly, thanks for being with him and with us, one way or another,
On behalf of my family and his closest friends, Esther