The banner of this blog reads, “Derek Maul: Words and Photographs for the Journey.” It’s not so much a subject matter blog (like a foodie blog or a car blog), where you know you can always find posts that find their way back to food, or cars, so much as a blog that follows the particular journey that is Derek Maul’s life.
I try my best to keep my writing balanced, providing interesting content around faith, and family, and photography, and travel, and more; but, ultimately, this space is a collection of words and photographs from my life, my relationship with God, my family, my inspirations.
If it all sounds fairly self-absorbed, then that’s because it is! This space is a modern day version of the classic journal. When you visit here at DerekMaul.blog you are in a sense looking over my shoulder and peering into my life.
So what’s the point?
The “point” is also why I encourage you to keep coming back: I try hard to be authentic, and I have found over the years that truth has the effect of inviting people in to learn more about the journey. Simply put, I will not waste my time or yours with sensation, or neatly packaged talking points, or cliché, or easy answers. What I have is faith, and questions, and thoughts, and real life experiences.
You are more than welcome to my life. And, life drives content.
I return to the subject of my parents time and again, then, because caring for them is – currently – so much of my life. I cannot be at their house six to eight times a day, investing so much time in every single detail of their care, without it popping up in this space every now and then!
Today’s picture – above – is what I would call “a photographic essay.” It is essentially the whole thing in one image, and I wanted to share it along with a very short commentary.
What’s going on?
The photograph was taken at the end of a very long day, and long days are not infrequent. This particular long day involved me taking my mum out for a tour of residential options designed to offer the specific help dad needs at this time.
This is a difficult conversation, obviously. But we cannot – safely or effectively – provide that level of care at home. I may be a healthy 65, but I am 65! Even professionals who come in to help (and we work with a most excellent agency) are hampered by constraints such as the physical space, bathroom design, adequate strength when moving dad from bed to chair etc., scheduling difficulties, and – this is huge – the fact that specific needs do not conveniently present themselves exactly when a care worker happens to be on the premises!
In consequence, mum and I did some tours, and we talked about the hard questions, and we crunched the numbers, and we tried our best to clearly see realities we do not always want to face.
And all this means tears, and emotion, and misunderstandings, and even anger, and regret.
Then I took the photograph, at the end of the long day.
Note the empathy of the dog. Note the faces. Note the held hands. Note the love.
Now remember to pray.