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A family are visiting their mum. The children are winding each other up. The patient list is daunting today. Three of the patients are very young. I can go home at 8 and carry on as normal. We will go up to the events and watch the laser display, maybe take a few beers with us. The champagne I had earlier is making me feel a bit tiddly. Not sure I like that feeling. Bit stuck for words at the moment. I feel pretty tired. I’ll just keep typing and I’ll get there. Five words to go. One!
I have been reading the completed August entries. It’s great that everyone has a unique voice on here. I like the quirky ones where someone is writing a bit of a book each day. You can just do what you like and no one will judge . It is a very motivating way of writing a journal but with a small audience in mind. Not a big enough space to ruminate too much and make ourselves even more depressed! I am on the reception desk at the Hospice again tonight . I can go home for supper with food for thought.
I seem to have acquired a taste for buying clothes in my mature years. I like them. It's a shame I don't have that many opportunities to wear them . I have got a trip to Aus and a wedding in Tuscany over the next six months.As mother of the groom I keep thinking about the several different events that are happening. Marriage in a registry office two days before the ceremony so maybe I need those dresses. I have however filled two black bags with jumble this afternoon . Maybe this is to ease my conscience and make it ok.
I haven't worn black since 2007 when I had my colours done.She took my clothes and put them into plastic bin liners! my husband had paid for this gift. Having left me with two pairs of trousers and a few tee shirts she disappeared to do the research. We met in John Lewis two weeks later and she changed my life.Rails of clothes chosen just for me. Navy blue and black were finished on the spot . Greens, shades of blue, red and oranges now line my wardrobe. These colours excite me and give me a sense of me.
Mother is in an increased sleep period. She is small and frail, her body so nearly nothing under the covers. I saw her feet recently . They are covered in sores and her toes are clamped as are her hands.She would never move anything or do any exercises and so she has come to this. A head on a pillow, her eyes are closed and I have to check to see if she is breathing.Sometimes she sleeps for twenty three hours in a day.She wakes briefly to be spoon fed. The TV remains permanently on talking to itself.
This poem touches me.
The children walk off into crowds of strangers, their laces tied, their backs straight. They wave to you from platforms you cannot reach. You want to hang on to them, you thrust small packages; vitamins, a new blouse, guilt, they keep discarding your dreams for their own. ........ They blur, fade. You settle back. The years pass, silent as clouds. Sundays they come to dinner, serve up slices of their lives, but its not the same. .......... sometimes you will remember a bead beneath your hand a quilt tucked in, small things snapping on a line.
I don't know what to bring to the table today. I guess this saying comes from the worried cook? I brought risotto to the table tonight. Something we have not had for a while. this morning i took food to a friend who has had an operation. It seems a very basic act of human kindness to offer food to those we care about. Mothers spend years worrying about and providing meals for their children. To snack or not to snack? if they snack after school they will not have an appetite for their dinner. A very first world problem.
So much noise and chatter at dinner. What do people talk about at these events? Their children is a key subject for conversation. So many are still totally obsessed even when offspring in their twenties . I must have done something seriously wrong or seriously right to my children as they are totally independent and free of our interference and obsession. I don’t doubt that they love us but we learned the lesson of separation together . It was not easy and is still work in progress but I have realised that i am worth having a life of my own.
Last night was I was going to get an early night.I got to my hotel room pretty tired and would that card work in the lock? NO! the staff re issued the card which i took upstairs and tried - no luck.This was repeated a couple of times until a member of staff said he would accompany me to my room . He could not open the door so a manager was called . The newly issued card just blinked red and died. Finally the general manager was called in with a real key! I finally got to bed at midnight.
Bowen Therapy, acupuncture, podiatry, osteopathy,homeopathy, cranial sacral therapy just a few of the "have you tried?" collection that we have in our experience or vocabulary when we empathetically try to help a friend resolve a difficulty. Never a day goes by when our heartstrings are not pulled by a problem of a fellow human being, or that of a non human species. Some problems seem so insurmountable that the "have you tried?" vocabulary sticks in our throats. Buddhists believe that life is suffering and that it is our desire to be free of difficulty that is our problem. Discuss
I have so many books I want to read. I had all afternoon today and I planned to get stuck in. For some reason I didn't do it. That internal assassin talked me into watching some television, then scanning the newspaper followed by taking a walk and then mooching about doing nothing in particular. Meanwhile, Ali Smith, Ann Enwright, Ted Hughes, Vikram Seth all sit unopened on my desk.They are all full of such treasures. Great poetry, fantastic story telling , wisdom and delight. Maybe tomorrow? I have some more time tomorrow. What will there be to distract me then?
I love to see my friends but I also love to be quiet and have space to read and write and to stay calm. Yes, I did get stuck into my books when I got home. Such a solace to read and be star struck by my favourite writers’ talents. How do you learn to paint pictures with words in such clever ways . I always think how much these people observe, or is it that they describe the mundane in such a way as to make it fascinating. I could experiment with this. Tomorrow I could try it out here.
Drinks were served on the terrace that overlooks the formal gardens. We were gathered on the lawn, an eclectic selection of people , chosen by the person in whose honour we were there . A butler and some black skirted helpers carried trays of wine and Pimms from the kitchen of the private wing of the large and imposing building. The sun had already left the terrace in shadow though the brilliant green of sunlight on green trees displayed prettily in the near distance . Lord and lady mingled easily with the guests remembering names and the roles each person played. Job done.
Hampstead! Awesome pub habituated by “types”. Four ladies who lunch with their expensive sunglasses, jackets and an adorable dog. After their meals were served the waitress brought the dog’s order. Was it the organic dog biscuit (all proceeds to local dog shelter) followed by waitress provided bowl of water? Another very small dog occupies a seat to himself in his portable bed. He is picked up and cosseted by a waitress. She even kisses him. I do hope she washed her hands. The third delightful pooch lay fast asleep across my path to the ladies. Well worth a visit.
An old woman is sleeping in a bed in a nursing home on her back with her head pillow propped. Her heart is beating and her blood’s going round her body, she’s asleep and awake and she’s nothing but a torn leaf scrap on the surface of a running brook, green veins and leaf stuff, water and current, taking leaf of her senses . Ali Smith wrote these words .I changed the pronoun to she because it is another passage that touches my situation with my mother. She has been in an increased sleep period for two months.
I shall do this in two parts as I am a day behind. Another great read . Anne Enwright. An Irish mother has four children who grow up and go their very different ways. They are called home one Christmas without their partners and each of them can think of nothing but getting away from their mother who fusses them about details of the Christmas lunch . they now have very little in common with each other or their mother . their claim to a connection is that they were all born from the same womb. How can they get away from her?
Rosaleen walks out on them on Christmas day. "she could also walk out of that door and not come back.And how did that feel? How did it feel when your mother left you? Hah! "unappreciated, irrelevant. Her children had made her feel that she did not really matter, that she did not exist. Oh no Rosaleen did not exist. Hah! My empathy shifted at this point from the children to the mother although her controlling actions cannot really be excused. She deliberately gets herself lost in the dark and the guards are called out to find her. Remorse ensues.
I dreamt I went on the walking holiday and found myself in Corfu. Contrary to the expectations of that venue , it was cold and miserable and the accommodation was dirty and unsavoury. Human hair lingered everywhere and there was confusion over who belonged to which bathroom. One member of the party attempted to speak to the yokel landlord in his language, to explain that this filthy place was not hygienic and that we wanted an upgrade. The resident maid seemed to be sitting around doing nothing. Still with his offering of fresh vegetables in his hand, the landlord understood nothing.
I dreamt I went to the Hospice to cover my shift. It was winter and dark. As i arrived the lights went out. I went round to the many light switches and turned them on again. As soon as i had got them all on, they went out again. This game went on for a while. On-off on-off until finally they decided to stay on. As I approached my desk I noticed that there was a fully lit Christmas tree even though Christmas was long gone. This is hope switched on and off but the light finally shines.
It is pitch black as we make our way back to the house. Some of the young people drop off along the way and I am with one other person.There are some difficult roads to cross not because there is heavy traffic, just some sort of unnamed danger.The last part is along a country path and as we progress along this path black horses start to gallop towards us and then past us. We are afraid but I have the conscious thought that it must be nearly dawn and the jockeys have risen for the early morning gallops.
I decide to go to a wedding celebration. I dubious because I know that the family are big on sin and small on fun. I get there and find that the mood is generally jovial. I relax and start to enjoy myself. i have a few drinks and flirt with the men.I ask for a phone and a man hands me a phone that I have never seen before and have to ask how to use it. I phone my brother and tell him that it is okay and that the party is fun and he can safely come.
It wasn’t until the end of my first month here that I realised that if I did not write my hundred words on the day specified, I could still catch up! So there was this little pressure everyday to get it done and I even managed it on my iPhone one day when caught out without any other means of writing. This month I have left it for two days on several occasions and I can see the temptation to leave it for more. Why not write a story in instalments? A good plan that just needs executing. Go
Once upon a time a beautiful girl bought herself a new house. This house was just full of boxes when she moved in. The boxes were filled with thousands of books and papers from her job. There were boxes of toys, boxes of tissue and beads and glue and glitter. Resources for work. Her fairy godmother waved her wand and her father appeared with tools and lots of energy. He filled the girl’s house with IKEA units and the boxes of books started to appear on the pristine new white shelves. Tomorrow I shall tell you what happened next.
A few weeks later, the beautiful girl spoke to her fairy godmother and said how she wished for a beautiful garden. The fairy godmother waved her magic wand once more and her father appeared , armed with a plan and his spade and fork and the two of them got to work. They dug and dug and turned all the grass over . They divided the garden into spaces for flower beds and vegetables. It was getting dark on the third day, they dug a big hole for her pond. A loving father is willing to turn her pumpkin into a palace.
The old lady is fast asleep when i arrive with flowers in my hand for her birthday. She is ninety five today and sleeps for most of the time. Her loving carers woke her with a beautiful cake all decorated with strawberries and candles. We all sang happy birthday and her toddler face was a picture. They took the cake away and divided it up for the residents. Mother's was mashed down to pulp and served with thickened coffee. she ate it all like a little bird accepting food from its parents. She is truly reliving her toddler time again.
I am embarking on a course for facilitators of writing workshops. I have come to this course because I have a strong sense that I would like to share the experience of writing with others and would like to be the person that holds the group and encourages them to share . Over the last year Ihave been a volunteer at the local Hospice and have been part of a group that facilitates tai chi at the well being centre. I have approached the staff and suggested starting a group . My idea has been received with enthusiasm. Let's hope it works.
The sun has shone today . We have a taste of summer again. Not that it has really ended . I have been wearing summer clothes for five months now. I can never remember doing that before in my life time. I sat out in the garden reading Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin. I read it twenty years ago but can remember nothing about it. It feels like it is going to be another amazing read. She really is my role model as a writer. I love it when the weather gives me permission to just indulge myself with a good book.
Imagine the monarch Agha Mohammed Khan, who orders the entire population of the city of Kerman murdered or blinded - no exceptions. His praetorians set energetically to work. They line up the inhabitants, slice off the heads of the adults, gouge out the eyes of the children ...... Later, processions of blinded children leave the city. Some, wandering around in the countryside, lose their way in the desert and die of thirst. Other groups reach inhabited settlements .... singing songs about the extermination of the citizens of Kerman.... Ryszard Kauscinski Margaret Atwood in a podcast said she is critisiced for making up Carnage!
In my previous entry I quoted a passage from the front of the Blind Assassin. I heard Margaret Atwood talking about how she is criticised for the macabre themes in her novels. She gave us pause for thought when she said that nothing that she writes about has not happened somewhere and at sometime in the world The ghastly dystopia described in the Hand Maid’s Tale has happened . The appalling events in the US over the past few days when patriarchal men behaved in an arrogant and belligerent manner in the hearing with Kavanaugh and Ford proves her point.
I am on reception at th hospice. Nothing can prepare us for the shock that a loved one has terminal cancer, especially if that person has seen at least eleven professionals before a scan was done that revealed an untreatable brain tumour. The patient had been treated for depression and tested for dementia, given drugs for the psychiatric conditions and his relatives told that his confusion was due to side effects of medication. I hope that my experiences here will give me strength to face the unexpected crises that this life keeps throwing in our faces. I live in hope.
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